On April 23, 2015, Jamie Farish-Williford left his job as a chaplain at Averett University in Danville, Virginia, to head to New York, New York, with his wife, Hannah, so that she could begin her career as a physician’s assistant in New Jersey and he could pursue a new career in acting. Below are are his musings about taking chances and chasing dreams.
By Jamie Farish-Williford
It’s 9:00 at night. I’m on a “gypsy bus,” heading back into the city. I have to be on set at 6:30 a.m., and, thankfully, I have a friend who will let me crash on his couch so I don’t have to wake up super early to make call time.
I’m an extra.
Tomorrow morning, I will pile into a large room with numerous others. Our sole purpose: Be background filler.
It’s not a bad gig. The people you meet and the paycheck make this completely worthwhile. This will be my sixth shoot, and I’ve already met some great people.
I even ruined an entire take once. Rookie error. Felt good.
I have to admit something, though, it’s completely silly. After living here for about a month, I can get real impatient.
I want things to progress. I want my story to unfold like a choose-your-own-adventure book. I want every decision I make to be a building block that is eventually forming the structure of some semblance of a possible career.
But let’s be honest, life isn’t like that.
Don’t get me wrong, there are times when we are knocking it out of the park. We are crushing it at our jobs, high-fiving angels because of our awesomeness, and tucking ourselves into bed with the security sheets of our legacy being secured.
But then there are those other times.
The phone isn’t ringing. No one has e-mailed. The Facebook news feed has nothing of value. And we’re stuck. Waiting.
The fortune cookie part of me would chime in with, “We should be grateful for the hard times, because they make us stronger. And that strength helps us be better for all the tomorrows!”
As much as that may ring true, it doesn’t make it any easier. Whether you’re waiting for a job opportunity, for test results, or feedback from auditions, there process in and of itself can be maddening. We hate waiting rooms; we hate them even more if it feels like we been in them for entire seasons of our lives.
And rather arm ourselves with clever anecdotes or chicken-soup-for-the-soul-type quips, maybe we should call it out for what it is, and make our proclamation there.
Yes. Waiting is terrible. We want results now. We want output from our input. We want to be kings and queens for a day and make everything happen instantly. We want to be hired. We want to be married. We want to be pregnant. We want to be cast. We want to consider ourselves successful. We want to be happy.
Saying—even screaming—that is often the most important moment for us.
But the next step? I’ve got no answer.
And though rainforests have been leveled to create the pages for books on this subject by authors far wiser than I, here is my thought for myself and for you.
I don’t know if it’s going to get any better. I don’t know if you (or I) will ever get these things we really want.
But, today, I’m not going to stop trying to chase them down. And for the moments you feel faint, know there are people (myself included) cheering you on. On your side. No matter what.
This will be a beautiful story. A story worth being a part of. A story worth telling.
Signed, The Backstage Chaplain