Avery made her theatrical debut when she was about a year old. She played in a scene with Jacey Powers during a production of Little Women. Jacey carried her out on her hip and set her down on the stage if she got squirmy. Avery was completely unfazed by the lights and the audience.
Avery loved theater! She performed in several local productions – never in a lead part, most always in the background, but she did it. And she enjoyed it. When she was older she performed with a talented, faith filled young lady by the name of Riely Rae Mikrut. Riely showed Avery what it was like to love God and love theater at the same time.
Avery continued to impress me with her love of theater.
She had asked to audition for a summer stock production of Alice in Wonderland that was to be performed outdoors near a busy lake. I wasn’t sure how she would handle the heat and bright sun, the sound of cars and motorcycles driving by, not to mention when performing outdoors you have no option but to really SEE your audience, and all of that can be really intimidating.
But she insisted she audition and I relented. And I am so glad I did! She was amazing! Not just in her own parts, but she managed to memorize several parts: birds, flowers, a caterpillar, a mouse. In summer stock, you perform lots of shows over a longer period of time. Up to this point, Avery had done two weekend shows. Six performances at most. But this was like a summer job. Long term. Which meant that some kids would miss a performance or two and Avery was able to slide in and do their parts.
I was so excited for her future in theater.
When she entered 5th Grade in September, 2012, all she talked about was finally being able to perform in the school musical! It was a super big deal to her. Even though her portable school stage was a gazillion years old and nearing the end of its use; even though the school didn’t have a light system worth mentioning; even though the auditorium was nothing more than a converted gym that also doubled as a lunch room – she just couldn’t wait to get up there and perform her heart out with the rest of her classmates.
Little did we know that six weeks later, Avery would be called home to heaven. Never able to perform on that stage.
I must say, the drama kids did an incredible job honoring Avery at their performance of Fiddler on the Roof. There, painted on the backdrop was a butterfly nestled in a tree. Avery was on stage for the entire show.
I believe there is something for everyone in theater. There are set designs for the carpenters and the artists. Props to discover for those who love history. Lights and sound for the tech savvy. Costumes to design and organize, cast bios to write, programs to print, shows to market and tickets to issue. Theater is truly a team sport. Everyone is needed. There is not one position that can go unmanned. Every position is equally important as the next.
God’s army is like that, too. He calls each one of us into serving Him in our own unique ways. But not one of us is more important than the other. God wants us to know that each one of us has an important role in his army. Not one position can go unmanned.
I want to do something for the students at Delavan Christian School. Something for those amazing kids who lost a friend way too soon and way too traumatic. For those incredibly loving kids who performed their heart out knowing that all Avery wanted was to be up on that stage with them. I want to do something amazing for them and in Avery’s memory.
I want to give them a new stage.
I want them to finally have a stage that is big enough and safe enough and high enough to showcase their amazing talent! I want them to look at a new stage and feel excited and happy and good and eager – not sad and lonely because their friend can’t get on stage with them. I want them to see that good things can happen from bad, and that Avery’s memory will be with them forever.
I want them to see this new stage as a tangible example of what a firm foundation in Christ is like. Avery’s love for God is what I stood on when all I wanted to do was to sink into the depths of my sorrow filled pit. Likewise, a new stage will hold them strong and sure and steady.
AVERYday Ministries is close to helping the school achieve this goal, but we have about $2,000 that is still needed. If you feel called to help in this endeavor, you can donate in the following ways:
AVERYday Ministries, PO Box 214, Delavan, WI 53115
Delavan Christian School, 848 Oak Street, Delavan, WI 53115
** Please include the word “STAGE” in the memo portion of your check.