A Musical of Peace

Monday January 14

Saturday was a hard day. But sometimes you need those kinds of days to remember why you should work for peace. And by working for peace I mean devote your life to making peace obtainable. I have recently come to the conclusion that my life would not be complete if I graduated from Bethel and began teaching music for the rest of my life. Music is my life. I can’t image living in a world where I didn’t sing or perform. But trying to obtain peace is also part of my life now. I honestly believe that I can do both. I can roam the streets of Israel/Palestine strumming my guitar singing songs about love and peace. Now that would make a statement to people.

On Sunday I gave a presentation at Lorraine Avenue. The turnout was fantastic and many people were beyond interested in what I was doing. I performed 20 minutes of scenes from the script and then talked about why I was taking this journey with the script. It’s not only about the theater aspect for me, it is also about speaking to people and getting people to listen.

After the performance a man came up to me and said that I was helping to spread the story of Rachel Corrie. Just like many Anabaptists have spread the word about Dirk Willems for centuries. It is a common story told among Mennonites, that Dirk Willems risked his life to run back and save his pursuers life, who had fallen in the ice while chasing him, only to be returned with torture and death. Rachel Corrie could be a symbol for people who give their lives to peace, just like Dirk Willems is an example of someone who risked his life to save his enemy.

Each day I am thankful for the crew of helpers and supporters that walk with me each day. I could not do this show without my director, my stage manager, my light designer, and the many other Bethel people who volunteer their time. I am grateful for each person who is helping me make this production possible. Each and everyone of you is making my dream for peace more of a reality.


Human Nature

I am thankful for Mojo’s hot chocolate. I am thankful for the continuous support of my family. I am thankful for music that soothes my soul. I am thankful for my professors that help me achieve my dreams and goals. I am thankful for my friends who help me in times of need, even in the most selfish situations. I am thankful that I have things for people to take. I am thankful for my mother’s strength. I am thankful there is food in my mini-fridge. I am thankful for running water. I am thankful that I have faith in God. I am thankful for so many things and disgusted at the same time.

Why am I allowed to have all of these things when others don’t? Why do I have this privilege? People are suffering all over the world and I spent my afternoon jamming out to music, memorizing lines in a coffee shop, and playing Tetris. It’s not fair. It’s not fair that people’s homes are being destroyed while I sit here writing this post.

I don’t understand the thought process of people who think it is ok to completely obliterate the home of a family. I don’t understand the thought process of countries that go to war with one another as an easy solution to solving a problem. This world we live in is a shameful place.

I wish I could stand on a box in the middle of New York City and tell the world that we don’t have to live like this. We can be better people who care about other people. I feel like our sole purpose on Earth is to not only achieve success and raise a family, but it is also to help others in need, those less fortunate. I wish I could stand on that box and people would listen and would say ‘Yes! I want this to stop.’ Sadly, I know people won’t listen and will continue to fight others off as they climb to the top of the world’s power and money pile. I can’t even get my own family to listen to me about the benefits of rearranging where our piano should go, so how am I suppose to get others to listen to me about the world’s problems? I am 21 years old and sometimes I think I have a better grasp on how life should be. But because I am only 21 years old I am also naive and fragile and too young to understand the world’s problems. But maybe that is what this world needs. Maybe a naive 21 year old college student should be heard because it would be something different. As far as I can tell, trying something different is just what this world needs. We have been in wars and killing people since the beginning of time. I am told this is human nature.

Is it such a horrible idea to try something different?

The end of a-gallon-a-day

Thursday January 10

Today is the last day of my five-day gallon-a-day challenge. I have found that living over the past five days with restricted water has started to become a habit. I can’t actually believe that tomorrow I can turn on the faucet or shower at any moment. I won’t have to measure out my water anymore. I feel like this is a project for a person who wants to live in someone else’s shoes for awhile. This project really made me think about how often I actually use water and how much of it. It is incredible how much water one person can use! I wish that it would be possible for me to restrict my water on a daily basis and then send all the water I would normally use to the people in Palestine who are in desperate need of it. They need the water more then I do. I use it for vanity and a comfortable lifestyle. Palestinians use water for their crops, to feed their families, to make a living in order to survive.

I keep going back to the last scene of the play and feeling such a sadness for people. Not just the people in Palestine, but for people all over the world. If people acted more like Rachel, and worked for peace maybe this world would be a better place. A place were parents in any part of the world would feel safe raising their child, without the threat of gunfire, bombs, and bulldozers.

Preparation for the Lorraine Avenue presentation is coming along. Please join me on Sunday, January 13th at 12:45pm for an informative session about this project. I will be performing a few scenes from the play, as well as talking about the work Rachel did and my connection to this topic. People who have also been to Israel/Palestine will share stories of their experiences. Please come with questions and an open mind willing to allow peace to enter the space.


Wednesday January 9

I don’t know if the lack of sleep I’ve had this past week is making me overly emotional but today I sat in Mojo’s and cried while memorizing lines. I cried because the words Rachel was saying was exactly how I feel. Disappointment. Fear. Privileged. And hope, in the midst of everything that is wrong in the world. I just want peace.

Sometimes I get so caught up in my busy life that I forget for a minute that there are people out there whose lives and homes are threatened. I can walk back to my dorm at anytime I please. And then there are other times when I get so angry with people who tell me that working for peace is silly. I think it is silly to not work for peace and pretend like it is ok, because it’s not ok. It’s not ok to push out an entire community of people from their homes. It is not ok to take away drinking water from people when there is a working swimming pool on the other side of the fence. I think it is silly that people sit around and let this messed-up world continue to destruct people.

Rachel Corrie can sum-up how I feel better than I ever could “I can’t believe that something like this can happen in the world without a bigger outcry. It hurts me, again, like it has hurt me in the past, to witness how awful we can allow the world to be. ” I don’t understand why things like this have to happen in the world. I am a sheltered human being. I live in a home where I am taken care of. I believe that peace is the answer, no matter the question. If this makes me a silly and unrealistic person, ¬†then I am silly and unrealistic. But I am trying to crawl out of my comfort zone and show people that my dreams for peace are important, just like everybody in this world is important. Maybe not to you, but they are important to someone in this wide world.

What would happen if everybody tried to live for peace?


The beginning steps

Tuesday January 8

Monday evening was the first read through of the script. Once we reached the end all I could think about was how tired my voice was. I was so thirsty! (part of that is due to another factor I’ll discuss later) Reading through the script out loud to another person made me realize that this performance was actually going to happen. Now that was nerve-wracking. I realized that I am going to be up on stage, alone, talking for an hour and thirty minutes. Sometimes I think I’m a little crazy coming up with these great ideas and then actually going through with them. Who does that? I do. But then in the midst of the lines and memorization I remembered that this isn’t about how many pages I have to memorize. It is about Rachel Corrie and peace and the stories she had to share. Rachel Corrie is a real person, with real stories. Realizing that I am doing this crazy project for her and for the people wanting peace in Israel/Palestine brings me back to why I had this crazy idea in the first place. To talk about peace. To share stories about real people. To plant seeds of hope and passion in finding a solution. Together we can make a difference.

Many of the problems that Palestinians face in Israel/Palestine comes from the water restrictions set by the Israeli government. To try and save water the Israeli government shuts down water-lines or water-wells in certain parts of the country. It just so happens that the majority of these water shutdowns take place in Palestinian homes. Without warning. Without knowledge of when water will be made available again. When I was in Jerusalem two years ago, I was impacted by the amount of black plastic tanks I saw on roofs. I was told that these were water tanks, to be used for when the water was shut-off. They were full of water so that when the water was shut-off a water reserve could be used. Thinking that water could be shut-off at any minute made me sick to my stomach. I love water. I carry a water-bottle around with me everywhere I go. I have a daily goal to pee clear before lunch. Water is part of my lifestyle and I take it for granted. Every. Single. Day. Seeing those water tanks made me want to try and restrict my water. That is how I came up with the gallon-a-day project.

In the gallon-a-day project I restricted myself to one gallon of water a day. Used to bathe, drink, and whatever else I need water for. I planned to do this project for a meager five days to get a little insight on how Palestinians live with water restriction. I started on Sunday and am now on day 3. I did not realize how often I use water and how much of it. Living in a dorm and having my meals prepared for me in the caf have made keeping to a strict gallon-a-day very difficult. Out of respect for my fellow roommates I flush the toilet. There went one gallon of water. My food and dishes are washed in the caf with who knows how much water. There goes another gallon. So I’m stuck with measuring out my drinking water and bathing water. Even that has proven to be quite difficult. On Sunday I went to wash my hands and used the faucet rather than my carefully measured gallon of water. As far as drinking and minimal bathing are concerned a gallon-a-day is quite reasonable. As long as you don’t exercise or do any sort of activity that makes you sweat. So once again I feel like I am cheating because in the middle of summer in Israel/Palestine you can sit in a chair and sweat. I would be interested to try this project again when I am able to cook for myself so that I am able keep to a strict one gallon of water. In the meantime my biggest concern for myself is how greasy my hair is getting…it’s only been three days! I am a sheltered human being.

This morning Megan and I blocked out the first several pages of the script. Adding actions and intentions to the words helped to make Rachel’s character come to life. I realized this morning that this script isn’t solemn and sad the entire time. It is fun and shows who Rachel really was as a person. Someone who had passion and drive and a crazy-fun attitude. This rehearsal also made me remember that this experience is going to be fun. Bringing someone’s story¬†off the page is something that can really make an impact on people. I am doing this show for a reason. To tell a story.

Tomorrow is another day. But what I did today made a difference.