My brother and sister-in-law were in town for a wedding, staying in my guest room. Waiting for them to come home from the rehearsal dinner I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer, falling asleep on the couch. (Allergy medicine was involved.)
They came home and rang the doorbell. I didn’t stir. They knocked on the door. I didn’t stir. They called my cellphone, which was right beside me. I didn’t stir. They called my home phone. I didn’t stir. Finally my brother came in through the (large) dog door. (My dogs were away at camp.) I still didn’t stir. After I woke up I didn’t realize they were home until I went to the back door for something and saw their car in the driveway. They were already sound asleep.
Life is like that sometimes. Not the being so tired that you’re comatose part. But the part about having to find a different way.
I’ve been listening to a biography of Muppet Creator Jim Henson while in my car. Besides his manifold creative gifts, Jim had the quality of being able to hold things lightly. Over and over again he made pitches for shows that were never picked up. He spent hours working on a Broadway show that didn’t happen. (Just today Disney announced plans for a possible Broadway Muppet Show.) He pitched pilot after pilot to the network, not just creating a proposal but creating actual muppet characters and producing skits. Either the network suits didn’t get it. Or if they were enthusiastic, they couldn’t find a time of it. For years he worked on this dream of having a weekly television show only to be turned down time after time.
Meanwhile, at the insistence of Lorne Michaels and the network, the Muppets were part of the original cast of Saturday night Live. (Yeah, it sounded strange to me as well.) Obviously, they didn’t click with the cast and writers but Michaels liked Jim so much he didn’t want to fire him.
At this same time, through the work of his agent and connections made while doing a special with Julie Andrews (who herself had been given a special because her network show was cancelled after one season, a casualty of going head to head with Mary Tyler Moore) Jim was offered a syndication deal. Originally skeptical of syndication, Jim allowed himself to be talked into it.
The Muppet Show was born. When the agent called with the news Jim didn’t ask about money or budget. He simply said, “I love you.” There was, of course, no issue with Jim being let out of his SNL contract, and everyone parted with relief.
He had his dream. Not on the timetable he’d wanted. Not in the way he envisioned. But he had his dream.
Sometimes we miss what could be possible in our lives because we insist that they can be possible in only one way and on only one timetable. But the truth of the matter is, sometimes they have to come through the dog door.
What are you wiling to hold lightly?