I Can’t. (or… I Have Rehearsal.)

Maybe you’ve seen the t-shirt.

I can’t.  I have rehearsal.

It’s true, too.  Few people realize what a sacrifice it is to actually be a theatre major or practitioner.  There are so many events, opportunities, organizations, and televisions shows that we give up because rehearsals take precedence.  And in educational theater, we often start one show the minute we close and strike the previous.

Rehearsals are as unique as the production they are supporting.  I almost hate to catalog it here because there are infinite ways to mount a play.  And the hours will look different based upon the producing organization.  High schools will typically rehearse 8-10 hours a week.  Professional companies will rehearse eight hours a day.

At ETBU, we typically rehearse four hours each evening.  This is on top of the standard academic work day.  And every show receives 4-6 weeks of work, depending on its complexities and specific needs.

The calendar order looks a little something like this:

Table work.  This is the time when the actors and director (and possibly other support staff) read through the script as a company.  Often these rehearsals are used to discuss changes in rhythm or mood.  Difficult passages may be the focus or even correct pronunciation of unfamiliar words.  Dialects are honed.  Some directors limit this work to just a couple of days.  Others may spend a few weeks at the table, making sure the actors are comfortable with the text prior to staging.

Blocking rehearsals.  Visual storytelling should support the text.  As Hamlet advises the players in Shakespeare’s masterpiece, “Suit the action to the word, the word to the action.”  If you see a play in a foreign language, the movement alone should give you an understanding of relationships, power, and conflict.  So you cannot underestimate the importance of good blocking.

Our rehearsals at the university tend to start off organically.  This means the actors are allowed to explore the space and define their characters bringing their instincts, preparation, physicality, and research to each scene.  We can find some really lovely moments this way, as they come up with their own ideas for motivation and action.  As a director, my job is to guide them into the strongest choices.  I always have to keep in mind what the audience will see and how they will interpret our spatial relationships.

Fine tuning the blocking can last throughout the entire rehearsal process.  Some moments are really difficult to stage, and choices made early in rehearsals may be scrapped entirely and reconstructed in an effort to make the emotion and storytelling stronger.

A dance rehearsal for Blood Wedding by Federico Garcia Lorca.  Produced by Baylor University.  Dr. Marion Castleberry, Director.  Photo by Sarah Chanis.

An early dance rehearsal for Blood Wedding by Federico Garcia Lorca.
Produced by Baylor University. Dr. Marion Castleberry, director. Photo by Sarah Chanis. 2009.

Special rehearsals.  Typically, these work days focus on a production’s additional needs such as choreography or set changes.  If a play is dance heavy, then choreography needs to be the focus early on so that each subsequent rehearsal reviews and polishes.  The same could be said for fight choreography.  It’s essential to commit these to muscle memory early so that later additions such as lighting, costuming, and an audience don’t distract the actor and result in injury.  Additionally, scenic rehearsals facilitate quick set changes and prevent the loss of the audience’s attention.

(Side note: I saw a play mounted at Actors Theatre of Louisville that had a twelve-minute fight scene involving sixteen actors.  When I asked members of the company how long it took to rehearse the fight, they replied 40-50 hours.  Respect.)

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A polishing rehearsal for Blood Wedding by Federico Garcia Lorca.
Produced by Baylor University. Dr. Marion Castleberry, director. Photo by Sarah Chanis. 2009.

Lines-off rehearsals.  No more scripts on the stage.  In addition to the work put in for academics, production work, and rehearsals, actors have also been carving out time to learn their lines.  This takes discipline and several weeks to master—depending upon the size of the role.  During these rehearsals, actors are allowed to call for “line” and the stage manager will read it to them.  Hopefully they immediately pick up and go with it.  However, sometimes these days feel like one step forward, fourteen steps back.  It all depends on how prepared and confident the actors are.  At some point, usually about a week after the first lines-off rehearsal, we institute a “no-more-line-call” policy.  It’s sink or swim.  It’s vicious.  And I like it.

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A dress rehearsal for Blood Wedding by Federico Garcia Lorca.
Produced by Baylor University. Dr. Marion Castleberry, director. Photo by Sarah Chanis. 2009.

Polishing rehearsals.  The last few days prior to going into tech rehearsals are where some of the best work happens.  The blocking is set.  The lines are solid.  Now the actors work on emotional truth and connection.  New discoveries are made and new risks taken in almost every rehearsal.  It’s one of the most beautiful parts of the entire process.  The really difficult scenes may get a lot of work here; in essence, everything is done to make sure the performance of the actor is worthy of an audience.

Because our goal is to tell a good story.  Always.

Later, in another blog post, I will talk about tech and dress rehearsals.  Those are beasts in and of themselves.  But for now, if you see a theatre major, ask them if they are in rehearsal.  Ask them what they are doing in rehearsals.  Ask them how many hours they put in.  Be invested in the work they do.

Just to have that work–those hours–acknowledged is reward in and of itself.

TEL

Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day (or… The Creative Process)

The creative process is a fickle phenomenon.

As artists, I firmly believe we are compelled to create.  It’s more than just a passing interest—it’s a consuming need to express our world, its beauty, its hardships, its messed-up-murky-monkey business… all in an attempt to make sense of it…

or tell a memorable story…

or inspire change…

or wrestle with the dark questions.

I believe our ability to create—following the example of our great Creator—is an amazing gift.  It’s also incredibly hard and humbling.

A friend (and fellow performer) once shared this description of the creative process.

This is awesome.
This is hard.
This is awful.
I’m awful.
This might be okay.
This is awesome!

That so perfectly sums it up.

We are often terribly excited to begin a project… and then we quickly realize how ambitious it is.  How intimidating.  Too much to do and to get right.  Questions and doubts begin, asking whether or not the work will ever come together.  At points, we may even loathe the process, fearing that it will never reap the beauty we hope for.

Then we start blaming ourselves.  Maybe we’re the reason it’s not coming together.  Maybe we’re the reason everything is terrible.  Personally, I’ve been a part of near 100 productions in my lifetime, and the pattern has never changed.  We never seem to remember, in the throes of a creative process, that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Rome.  Lovely. "Na Koloseum i K Franciszki Rzymianki". Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commonshttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Na_Koloseum_i_K_Franciszki_Rzymianki.JPG#/media/File:Na_Koloseum_i_K_Franciszki_Rzymianki.JPG

Rome. Lovely.
“Na Koloseum i K Franciszki Rzymianki”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Yet, we push through… and it gets a little better.  A little sharper.  A little stronger.  We start to see glimmers of the huge potential this project has.  And we sprint towards that goal.

Personally, I never want to tackle a production that is too easy.  I’m constantly looking for a play or musical that will challenge the students, our limited facilities, and our budget constraints.  I don’t think we grow as artists if we stick to the same old routine.  I don’t think we educate our audiences either if we just give them some rehashed product they’ve come to expect.

Part of the love/hate relationship with mounting a production is the thrill of tackling something new compounded with the effort and energy it takes to make it a realization.  Uncharted territory is exciting.  However, if fear takes over and we settle for status quo, then our art suffers terribly.  I have known several directors who routinely return to the same production they did a few years ago.  Their repertoire seems to be limited to about 15 plays total.  I will never understand why they do that, especially when there are so many incredible works which have been available to produce since the dawn of time, the written word, and Aeschylus.

I exaggerate a little, but you understand my point.

We must overcome our fear of the difficult, of the unknown, and of our limits as created beings.  Let me be clear.  I’m not advocating some unwise regimen of extremist behavior here.  Our art cannot be our idol.  I’m talking about removing the chains of the “what ifs” and exchanging them for the satisfaction that says, “Look what we did!”

To create is to be brave.  To step out in faith and exercise the gifts we have been given by the Father.

There are so many subsets of the creative process contained within a production… so many ways to be brave.

  1. The playwright’s work to create the world of the play
  2. The director’s approach to realize that world
  3. The designers’ renderings, presentations, and models
  4. The technical director’s oversight of the build
  5. The actors’ wrestling with the characters and motivations
  6. The choreographer’s interpretation
  7. The scenic charge artist’s detail and nuance
  8. The stitcher’s embellishment
  9. The composer’s/sound designer’s aural story

And on and on and on.  Everybody creates!  Everybody works to contribute their special skill or gift to this GINORMOUS—or, honestly, it could be “simple”—product that will invite hundreds of others (spectators!) to judge their work.

Whoa.

WHY DO WE DO THAT?

Why on earth do we exert so much effort, engage in vulnerability, and invite criticism?

Because we cannot keep our work to ourselves.

Theatre is communal.  It loses its value without an audience.

This is where I think television and film fall short.  Though an audience may engage with the material presented on the screen, there is no give and take that is reciprocal.  The film doesn’t change based upon how you react to it.  But the theatre…

Every performance is different.  Connection.  Inflection.  Chemistry.  Comedy.  Rhythm.  It’s so wonderfully dynamic.  You know exactly where you stand with an audience for each performance, and it is always some place new and unchartered.  You know when you connect and when the crickets are chirping.  It’s an unbelievable exchange of emotion and thought that goes both ways.  You share space.  Air.  Energy.

And, at the end, polite applause.  Sometimes ridicule.  Silence.  Judgment.  Questions.  Strong opinions.

Or…

Praise.  Like-minded excitement.  Dialogue.  Thoughtful consideration.  Enthusiastic exchange of ideas.

Communion.

TEL

The Audition (or… Rejection)

For the performer—whether actor, singer, or dancer—auditions are a mainstay of theatre.  And I believe that not enough training actually focuses on how to audition.  That’s a shame really.

Because…

Our world *is* rejection.  You cannot be in this discipline without becoming intimately acquainted with rejection.  You have to arm yourself against rejection and learn how to take it gracefully.  And that can be really hard when you set your hopes on a particular role.

ETBU theatre major Sally Perkins receives auditioning tips from professional actor Lincoln Thompson at an audition workshop.

ETBU theatre major Sally Perkins receives auditioning tips
from professional actor Lincoln Thompson at an audition workshop.

I’ve learned some hard and valuable lessons along the way as both a performer and auditor.  And a great many of these cross over into the work force, personal relationships, and other situations where we might face rejection.  So let me explain these lessons in terms of the audition, and you can relate them to your own life experience, whatever that may be.

  1. Your self-worth is not dependent upon any particular audition.  Decide this now.  Though you may face 287 rejections in a row, never let it affect your self-worth.  Do let it affect how you prepare for an audition, the roles you pursue, and the classes you enroll in.  Take initiative, learn, grow, and try again, but never, ever consider it a reflection of your individual value as a person.
  2. If you didn’t get a role, it doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t give a good audition.  There are so many factors that could have made someone else a better choice.  But if you left a favorable impression, they are more likely to remember and consider you the next time you audition.
  3. Just because you played the lead role with a company or organization does not guarantee you future opportunities.  That’s just the way it works.  However, it is important to be dependable, likable, and professional in each job.  Because the connections and friendships you make in any production *can* lead to future opportunities down the road.
  4. Always view the audition in a positive light.  Know that those actual human beings (with feelings) sitting in the dark need a solution to their problem.  You might just be that solution!  One of the best pieces of advice I ever received from a working actress was this: “When I audition for a role, I always view it as a performance.  For those few minutes, I am the character.  It’s thrilling.  And I thank the auditors for the opportunity.”  So I have learned to be grateful for the experience and to enjoy the moment.
  5. The auditors will often make their decision within the first few seconds of your audition.  How you enter the room, how you introduce yourself, how you acknowledge others… all of this goes into the audition.  They are judging you from the beginning to figure out if they want to work with you.  If you enter sheepishly or aggressively, they will most certainly read your body language.  If you stumble over introductions, that will be noted too.  Think positively, believing in yourself.  You *will* make a good impression to someone.
  6. Never, ever, ever go in unprepared.  Research the play, the people, the organization.  Memorize your audition pieces backwards, forwards, sideways, and diagonally.  Have multiple monologues prepared.  Multiple songs.  Whatever the production or company demands, make sure you are equipped to present a professionally prepared audition.
  7. You will get conflicting stories.  No two auditions will be alike.  One auditor may tell you you’re a romantic lead, while another calls you a character actor.  Know yourself, and do not let a one-time critique upset your goals.
  8. If you receive a part, accept it with grace and treasure the experience.  Remember that your joy may be some else’s grief, so don’t boast about it.  And don’t complain about it!
  9. If you are not cast, do not belittle or slander the individual who did.  That is more a reflection of who you are than who he/she is.  Rather, congratulate those individuals and, if possible, find a way to support their work behind the scenes or from the audience.
Theatre majors participate in mock cold reading auditions in class.

Theatre majors participate in mock cold-reading auditions in class.

As for our own department, since we are small (but mighty), we choose to open our auditions up to anyone interested—students in other majors, faculty, staff, community members—so that we might enrich our experience through others who wish to contribute to our work.

To that end, I would like to explain how we make our casting decisions at ETBU.  This isn’t too far off from what the rest of the world does either.  We base our choices on the following:

  • The quality of the audition
  • Chemistry with other actors
  • The individual’s suitability for a role (i.e. physical appearance)
  • Specific performance skills required by a role
  • Experience
  • Availability
  • Dependability
  • Academic standing
  • Specific course or degree requirements

Hopefully, we reach a decision that everyone feels confident about.  We create a company of actors whom we trust to bring the work to life.

And then?

Then the journey begins…

TEL

Everyone Is a Critic (or… Respecting the Work)

“You’re only as good as your last blog.”  Those are the words ringing through my head right now as I fight writer’s block.  That’s not a good sign when you’re only on blog #4.

Those words echo what I hear every time I select and direct a show.

“You’re only as good as your last show.”

I know exactly where those words come from.  I know they aren’t healthy and, furthermore, that they aren’t the truth.  Ironic as it may sound, I *know* my self-worth is not found in my performance.  But what I feel… that’s a different matter.  Heart over head sometimes, right?

Most times, actually.

We live in a day and age where everyone is a critic.  With the advent of the internet, anonymous vitriol is as easy as the click of a button.  Don’t like a restaurant?  Leave an anonymous review.  Displeased with a doctor?  Write a scathing diatribe against her practice.  Inconvenienced by a store clerk?  Send an email to his boss.

And if you’re in the entertainment business?  Boy, oh boy.  Everyone is an authority.

In my twenty-five years as a director, I’ve heard some doozies.

One patron, after a three-hour show, complained as she was leaving, “Why did it have to be so long?  At least they could have told us it would be that long.”  We did.  It was written in the program.  What else can we say?  Sometimes we do shows that are classics.  And the classics tend to be long.

One didn’t like a rug we used as part of a set design.

One didn’t care for the playwright.  Found her annoying.

One said I was “still learning my craft.”  At this point, I had two degrees and twenty years of experience.

As recently as a few years ago, I heard a young patron exclaim in the lobby at the conclusion of a show,

“Well, that was awful!”

I was standing right next to him.  And I felt the rage climb up out of the dark recesses of my heart and find its voice in my own.  I zeroed in on him with cold precision and said, “You need to leave.”  He looked at me in complete disbelief.  I repeated myself, lest he misunderstand.  “You need to leave… now.”  Then he understood.  Then it registered all over his face.  He immediately stammered out, “I didn’t mean to offend anyone.”

“Well, you did.  Leave.  Now.”

He did.

Not my proudest moment.  But I did not want my students to hear that.  And I did not want my heart to hear that.  We had just finished five weeks of 12-15 hour days to launch the show.  We had fought budgetary limitations, casting woes, calendar conflicts, rental costume mistakes, and a ton of multimedia issues.  Memorization alone was deeply challenging for several of the actors.  Sleep deprivation had claimed most of us, but we pressed on; for every minor victory, there seemed to be some major setback.

The play was tough material, to be sure, but worthy of examination.  It asked the audience to engage their minds, to sit up and follow the subtle clues dropped by the playwright, and to ask hard questions in the end about life, responsibility, and reality.  It was meta-theatrical and self-referential.  It’s textbook canon, for crying out loud!

Either this patron wasn’t up for that… or we failed in our attempt.

Did we fail in our attempt?

I don’t know.  We seem to forget the kind things people say.  Though I am sure there were several for this particular production, I can’t seem to remember them.  I remember the putdown.

But it taught me something.  It taught me to respect the work no matter who the producing company is.  It reminded me to stop and look at the minutiae in the piece.  Someone typed that program.  Someone designed the artwork for the poster.  Someone painted the detail on that set.  Another hung and cabled those lights.  Still another stitched the trim on that gown.  Another choreographed the fights.  Another braced those platforms.  Who collected the props?  Who styled the wigs?  Who sound designed or stage managed or directed the show?  How long did it take to memorize those lines?  It is such a hugely collaborative process that the amount of man-hours invested would be near impossible to count.  And that amount of work–that crushing and unyielding amount of work–I will respect that.

How many details can you discern from a single photo from a production?

How many details can you discern from a single photo of a production?

Admittedly, we may not like the end result.  And I believe differing opinions are valid and healthy.  But I will not speak unkindly in their house.  I will not speak unkindly in their house.

TEL

Brinkley

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Brinkley, Nov. 11, 2013

The past 13 months have been very difficult for me.  For the first time in 32 years I am without a cat. Let me give it to you in a chronological list: Oct 2012 Jericho kitty died, Nov 2012 Dusty the horse died and Mom became very ill, Dec 2012 Mom died, Jan 2013 Val Siniak died, Feb 2013 Daisy dog died, Mar I cleaned out some of mom’s stuff, April Mom’s birthday, May 2013 Ecuador trip where I nearly died from a intestinal virus, June I cleaned out ALL of Mom’s things, July was quiet and I got a puppy, August school started, September cancer diagnosis and a BIG problem with a dear friend, Oct 2013 cancer surgery and Sam kitty died, Nov 2013…so far no one has died and I am cancer free.

I’m stressed.

Brinkley isn’t helping.

I adopted Brinkley from the Harrison County Human Society.  So far he has cost me about $600 in vet services plus the damage he has done to my home and yard.  Brinkley turned 7 months old Nov 9th.  He is a good old mutt who is a cutie pie.  He can play fetch and has FINALLY figured out how to go potty OUTSIDE.  He has been a big stressor in my life.  I have seriously considered getting him a new home.  He is a considerable handful!  We have been together 3 1/2 months and he has spent that time trying to learn to be a good dog.  It is very difficult to be a good dog when there are so many things to chew and eat.  He keeps barking at me telling me to “Look! LOOK!”  In fact he talks to me a lot.  I have lost my temper with him several times.  I have placed him in doggie timeout and forced him to sleep in the front bathroom.  Every morning I pick-up and throw away his puppy pad while he tries to “help” me carry it to the trash can.  Two weeks ago he started having dry pads.  After a week of dry pads I bought him a new bed and put it in my bedroom.  Every night I place him on his bed and turn out the lights.  Five minutes later he is in bed with me.  We’ve gone through the whole “this is your bed” training program.  I quit trying when one night he carefully crawled onto my bed, snuggled up to me and gently sighed.  Such contentment was expressed in that one sigh.  Everything was right in Brinkley’s world at that moment.

My whole being relaxed at that same moment.

Brinkley is still a handful.  He pulled up the vinyl flooring in the laundry room.  He chewed holes in the rubber garden hose.  He whines while I shower and complains about not getting all the treats at one time.  He loves to watch the toilet flush and the dryer go ‘round.  He has dug up every fall plant I put out in the back yard.  He talks while I’m trying to watch my shows and sits on me when I’m trying to read.  He is goofy.  He makes me smile.

He gives great hugs.

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The Quest

I pulled The Hobbit off my bookshelf  this summer.  Hard to believe that Tolkien first introduced us to Bilbo Baggins—a little furry-footed creature—on September 21, 1937.  I still love the opening line—“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”

When we first meet Bilbo, life is comfortable.  His round belly offers proof of his affection for raspberry jam, apple tarts, mince pies, cold chicken, pickles, eggs, cheese, and cakes.  Not to mention red wine and coffee and tea and ale.  Dinner twice a day is just fine with a hobbit—as well as predictability and routine.

But one day, Gandalf shows up at Bilbo’s front door.  The little hobbit has been chosen for an important mission involving treasure and a dragon.  Bilbo doesn’t look like the adventurous type—and the company of dwarves Bilbo joins is suspicious of him.  But Gandalf reassures them—“There is a lot more in [Bilbo] than you guess.”

The idea of treasure and dragons excites Bilbo, just a little.  But when trusts are betrayed and goblins appear, the adventure suddenly becomes a dangerous quest.

And quests always exact a price.  They involve sacrifice and bring deep weariness and exhaustion.

Bilbo does grow weary.  And often he wishes that he was back home—“by the fire with the kettle just beginning to sing.”  But, ultimately, Bilbo chooses to confront his greatest fears.

At one crucial point in The Hobbit, after the goblins have taken Bilbo’s pony and all of his supplies, Bilbo assesses the dire situation that he and his party find themselves in.  And his conclusion?

“Very well then, we must just tighten our belts and trudge on. . . .”

I like Bilbo. When things get hard, Bilbo doesn’t give up.  He trudges ahead.  Bilbo brings to life the choices we confront when things get challenging. His journey is a metaphor for our own.

For many of my students, as we enter our twelfth week, this semester adventure has become a quest.  There is something we want and there is something that doesn’t want us to get it.

I know I wrote about complacency last week.  But I guess it’s still very much on my mind.

Last Friday, almost half my class was absent.  And yesterday, during our workshop time, one of my students just sat in her chair—doing nothing.  When I asked her what was wrong, she said she was fine.  When I told her that she needed to work, she ignored me.  Finally, I said, “Are you coming back next semester?”  She shook her head no.  And so I asked, “So, have you just quit trying?  Are you just waiting for it to be over?”  And she shook her head yes.

This is the hard time of the year.  The mountain with gold and treasure looms before us.  We are so close.  But there is that whole dragon thing.

And along the way—temptations and fatigue threaten to derail us.  To reach the goal, there must be sacrifice.  We must be willing to give up something of ourselves to attain something greater. And sacrifice and deferred gratification are never easy.

“Don’t leave the path!” Gandalf warns Bilbo and the dwarves.  But they stray anyway.  Just like my students.  And some find themselves in grave danger.

So what do we do?

Well—I tighten my belt and trudge on.  And I hope my students will trudge with me. I hope the dragons don’t deter us.

We all face them—these obstacles that seem so big and so overwhelming.  They breathe fire and have sharp claws. The key is whether we will stay on the path and confront our fears, or whether we will wander off.

We are all facing dragons, I tell my students.  We may as well face them together.  And we might even pray for each other.  For strength.  And self-direction.  And protection.

And with the help of God—you never know—like Bilbo, there may be a lot more in us than we might guess.

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Integrity and Perseverance

We were in a beautiful valley with lush tall grass, red flowers, butterflies and singing birds.  The sun was warm, not hot.  My great-grandfather was sitting on a large oak log with me.  “Sis, it’s all about Honor,” he said.  “Be true to yourself.  Always, always honor God. Be your best. Do your best.  Be honorable.”  He kissed me on my forehead and walked away.

I  shot upright in my bed in the dorm.  It was so real.  My chest ached. I cried, no I wept.  Grandpa was dead I just knew it. I breathed deeply and looked at the clock.  6:20.  The ringing phone jolted me out of my well of emotions.

“Sis.”  It was Dad.

“Grandpa is dead isn’t he, Dad?”

“Yes, he passed a few minutes ago.  I’ll call you tonight with more information.”

Grandpa stopped by to see me on his way home.

Twenty years later I discovered that Grandpa stopped by and visited with my cousin, Alan.  They talked about something different.  None of the others shared our experience.

Definitions from Dictionary.com

Honor: honesty, fairness, or integrity in one’s beliefs and actions: a man of honor.

2. a source of credit or distinction: to be an honor to one’s family.

3. high respect, as for worth, merit, or rank: to be held in honor.

4. such respect manifested: a memorial in honor of the dead.

5. high public esteem; fame; glory: He has earned his position of honor.

Integrity: adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

2. the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished: to preserve the integrity of the empire.

3. a sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition: the integrity of a ship’s hull.

Perseverance: steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

2. Theology: continuance in a state of grace to the end, leading to eternal salvation.

OK, Grandpa, why did you come tell me about honor?  Honor is for men and their egos.  Sword fights, pistols at 10 paces, and broken promises.  I’m a woman and women don’t understand what honor means to a man.

Humans don’t understand what HONOR means to God.  Look at the definition: honesty, fairness, or integrity in one’s beliefs and actions.   Notice that honor and integrity have HONESTY at the core of the definition.  One cannot understand honor or integrity without understanding honesty. Honesty is the quality or fact of being honest; uprightness and fairness, truthfulness, sincerity, frankness, freedom from deceit or fraud, and chastity (in an obsolete way…seriously? Obsolete?).

At our core human beings are NOT honest and therefore, we cannot understand honor or integrity.

It takes perseverance to become a people of honor.

I like the idea of integrity as a state of being whole, entire and undiminished.  Did you read the second definition of perseverance?  “Theology: continuance in a state of grace to the end, leading to eternal salvation.”  So if I “stay the course” of being whole with honesty, then, through Jesus Christ I continue in a state of grace to the end.

HUM.

I just gave myself a headache.

God wants me to be a woman of honor, integrity and perseverance. I need to be true to God and thus myself. I need to give God the highest respect and to respect myself.  I need to stick to God’s moral and ethical principles and make them my own.  I need to stay the course no matter what obstacles, brick walls or ignorant people stand in my way.  I NEED to be like JESUS who embodies all these principles, think like Jesus, and love like Jesus thus being in a state of grace unto the end.

OH GOD, make me a woman of HONOR!