with Lynne and Leslie
Tag Archives: Steve Winwood

While You See a Chance, Rest

by SweetMidlife

Hi! It’s Lynne.

An old picture of me watching tv in bed because I was too tired to take one when I wrote this post.

So I think God speaks to all of us in different ways. Some hear audible voices, and some hear a warning or encouragement from a friend about something that we never told them but has been on our hearts. I believe God talks to me through pop music. Yes, I’ve heard Him in other ways over the years, but often I am going through things in my head and a song will come on the radio that speaks to me in a targeted way. And the song that has been my kiss from above, more than any other song, is “While You See a Chance” by Steve Winwood. Maybe it’s the organ he plays, or his amazing voice, but this song has always gotten to me. Then it really GOT me.

See, there have been times in my life where I was facing big decisions about moving forward into opportunities that could change things significantly for me, and out of the blue, this song came on. The first was 20 years ago, when I was offered the chance to be in a show at the Kennedy Center in DC. It was an amazing thing, but taking it meant I would have to leave the theater company I was on summer break from, and it meant joining the theater professional union. This opened me up to work at a new set of theaters and would include health care and open doors and the chance to tour in this same show the next year. But it also meant less certainty in between because some theaters don’t hire union actors, and it meant looking for other jobs between gigs. I was about to get on 395 South in DC, headed to my dinner theater show, batting all the possibilities around in my head, when that song came on. And it got to the chorus, the “While you see a chance, take it” part, and I swear I heard a “Lynne!!” in there somewhere, and it seemed like a push. And I was grateful, and took the job, and it changed the trajectory of my life. In wonderful ways.

And over the years, I have heard that song when I was wrestling with things, or about to venture into new territory: I heard it in a restaurant while very pregnant, heading to the last meeting for the teaching artist job I had, and pretty much one of the last professional things I was going to do before the baby came. It seemed like a nice segue into a the next season, and to rest in that.

So speaking of rest, this takes us to this past Thursday. That baby is now 6, and he has his own social schedule and things that he needs rides to, and my husband and I have church commitments, and I am teaching drama and directing a show and about to be in a show, and leading worship at church and there is also dinner to make and things to do and although I am trying to order things in an orderly fashion, it’s a lot.

So Thursday, it was a snowy and rainy day here, and my kid had school, and I was preparing for an after-school drama club that I am excited about. I was on the way to a meeting about an opportunity next year, and I was thinking ahead to drama club, and another lesson my son had that evening, and also a networking event I was supposed to go to while he was at his lesson, and I just felt tired. And right before I left, I got notice that the school system was cancelling after-school events because of the weather, and that was sad, but also took something off of my plate. And I thought to myself, “If weather is stinky enough for them to cancel things, maybe I should not go to the other things we had planned tonight.”

I got in the car, and Steve Winwood came on.

And relief and organ music came over me, and that was conviction. I rearranged my son’s lesson, and I sent regrets to the other event. And we came home after school. And I ate dinner in bed.

Sometimes taking chances means going towards something active and exciting. And this time it meant the chance to recover from excitement, and to embrace safety and rest.

Which actually is pretty exciting too.


While You See a Chance

by SweetMidlife

This is Lynne.

Anyone ever have something reoccur in your life that you see as a sign or signal, perhaps from God? I have a friend who believes that God sends her cardinals as a sign of His renewal and willingness to do new things in her life.  I had a seemingly supernatural sign like that too.  It wasn’t as naturalistic sign, like a beautiful bird, but actually an 80’s song. Yep, my sign from God was the 80’s classic, “While You See a Chance” by Steve Winwood.  The song is about not letting possibilities go, and working them until they work.  For me, I would hear that song when I needed to make a big decision about something that usually entailed stepping out of my comfort zone.  Probably the most significant decision made after that song happened to come on the radio was in the summer of 1998, when I was on summer break from a really, really good full-time job as part of an educational theatre company, where I had benefits and everything.  I had just signed a contract to come back in the fall for the next school year, but had just been offered a HUGE opportunity to possibly be in a brand new children’s musical that would be premiering at the Kennedy Center, and that brought with it the opportunity to become a member of Equity, the American union for Theatre performers.  I was salivating at the thought of performing in such a beautiful place, and the other stages that would be open to me, but I also had just signed a contract, and because union work is harder to get in DC than non-union work is, I would be giving up the guarantee of 9 months of steady work for 3 months of temping and the like, then two months of Kennedy Center show, then who knew what.  And I can’t remember exactly when the sign came, if it was before my first audition or in-between that and callbacks, but I remember clearly that I was driving to my dinner theater job in Alexandria, about to get on 395 south, going over all of the possibilities over and over again, giddy with the possibility, but scared of it too.  And then I heard this….

“While you see a chance take it… because it’s all on you”

And I felt like God was speaking to me through the blue-eyed soul of Steve Winwood, and I thought that He was saying, “Well, go for it!”  See, if I didn’t even pursue this chance, then I wasn’t taking advantage of a huge, huge gift.   I looked it as confirmation that I should take this chance, and I did, and I got the show, and it led to a temp job while I was waiting for rehearsals to start, then to rehearsals and the show itself, which was a pleasure to be a part of, then to a 8-month job as the officer manager of an office affiliated with the temp job I had just had because someone from the new office brought her kid to the show and called and offered it to me, to a 6-month tour, from which I came right back to another show in DC, from which I went to a temp job at a law firm offered by someone I knew at the last office, to a 4 month Kennedy Center tour, to what turned into a year and a half-long job at a law foundation affiliated with the office before that.

And over the years, whenever I heard this song, I would stop and think if there was something I needed to step out on faith and get off my butt and do. And usually, there was something, sometimes big, but usually small, like deciding to go workout when I wanted to stay home and veg, or calling someone who had been on my mind who I needed to catch up with instead of putting it off.  It usually required some sort of action.

Well,  it been awhile since I heard that song, and God has used other things to send me signs and such, and shoot, I have needed it.  My life has gone through a lot of change over the last little bit, including leaving my fulltime job to freelance teach and act, changing churches, getting married and moving, getting back into professional acting after a long break, buying a house, and preparing for the arrival of the person currently inhabiting my belly (baby shout-out).  This last little development has my husband and I preparing for the future as much as we can, but of course, there is so much unknown.  We don’t know what our needs will be or what the situation will look like.  I don’t know how soon I am going to start working again, what daycare would look like, or a bunch of stuff.  Slowing down has been different for me, because I am used to filling up my schedule and lots of running around, and that’s been harder to do lately.  So, earlier this week, I was in a burger place on Capitol Hill, eating possibly the yummiest veggie burger I have ever had, preparing to go to the closing meeting for a teaching artist program I’ve been a part of, when I heard my song.  And it immediately was clear what the chance was that I was suppsed to see, then take.

I am supposed to go on and wait  and see what happens.

This doesn’t mean inaction, or passivity. But it means that I have the chance to enjoy what’s happening in my life, and to decide what happens next because I am able to assess the present, and base my next move on that.  It means I can take a deep breath and soak up the joy and the sleepless nights and financial and emotional stretching that I know is upon us, and go from there.  And the chance that you are supposed to take might look different than the one your friends would take. Shoot, they look different than the ones you yourself would have taken last year.  But whatever decisions or opportunities you have in front of you, don’t be afraid to step out on a limb sometimes, even if that means stepping back and sitting down.

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