Several years ago, when the circus came to town, I was hired as a dialect coach. The fabulous Cirque Du Soleil had come to Minneapolis. You may wonder why they’d need a dialect coach. This circus is known for its amazing acrobatics and colorful characters – all artists in their own right – yet most of the time, any vocal interaction is simply piped via the sound system.
I soon discovered they were going to have a plant in the audience, who needed to appear like a local guy. This person would be called on stage to become one of the clowns. My job was to make this fellow sound like he was a Minnesotan – not a true Minnesotan, who says things like ooooh, yah, you betchya and don’t ya know – but one who lived and worked in the community. The interesting part began when I arrived for the first session.
The smell of greasepaint permeated the grounds. Physically fit performers practiced their craft. Some sat in the cafeteria tent while others juggled, tossed their partners in the air or bent their agile bodies into impossible positions. I was led to a trailer by one of the executives. He explained that I’d be working with a young man from Argentina who had both Spanish and Canadian accents. How on earth could I make this happen in a few short weeks?
Day after day we’d meet, work on enunciation, diction, vocal exercises and nothing seemed to happen. We finally eliminate the Spanish sound, but there was still a nasal quality to his speech. During rehearsals he’d start out fine, but as he progressed that nasal sound crept back in..
My student ascended the stage with two clowns. He played the part of a reluctant participant well. Then they put a spongy, red nose on him and his nasally sounding voice returned. The solution was simple – move the nose up higher so it wouldn’t close his nostrils.
Sometimes we overlook the obvious. We think we’re doing everything right. We follow the rules, we don’t get in trouble, we think we’ve got our lives figured out and then something unexpected happens and we cave. The key word in that scenario is “WE.” We have become so used to solving our own problems, fixing things and coming up with solutions that we forget to do the obvious – pray.
God invites us to come to Him for rest – to lay our troubles on His back – to trust in His intervention in our lives. All the obstacles we face, are easily solved by the One True God. It sounds too easy. We feel the need to be engaged. We think we can do it by ourselves. God doesn’t want us to suffer. He is right there waiting to help. Look for the obvious solution when life gets tough. Turn to the One who can fix anything.