"Syd, do you want to go see Shrek in Milwaukee with Dad on Saturday? It's almost sold out, but there are a few tickets left. Would you like to go?"
I hesitated. I was so tired, I could barely process general information, let alone such a cool offer. Plus, this was looking to be the first free Saturday for me in a long while, and I was looking forward to staying home and doing nothing all day. Another drive up to Milwaukee on my day off? In my grogginess I replied, "I don't know, maybe. I need to think about it, I guess."
Thankfully, after thinking about it for a little while, I was hit by how stupid it would be to pass up such a cool opportunity. First of all, my mom was so kind to think of this for me. She knew that I'd been hoping to see it, but had quietly given up on the idea due to my crazy schedule. But she found a way to make it happen. That is so like my mom - to see my quiet desires and make things happen for me, even when I don't ask for any of it. It's a picture of what Christ does for us. Also, this wasn't just a chance to see a great show, but to spend a day in Milwaukee with my dad. He and I hadn't had a daddy-daughter date in a long time, and after a few especially difficult weeks, this was exactly what my weary heart needed.
A few nights later the three of us sat in the living room, Mom at the computer reserving the tickets, and Dad and I on the couch chatting eagerly about where we should go to dinner. I was getting more and more excited. This was going to be wonderful.
So, this afternoon, Dad and I hopped in the car and drove up to my favorite city.
We were going to my favorite part of Milwaukee - the Historic Third Ward - and to a theatre that was filled with memories from long ago, where I had performed with First Stage in Seussical back in 2006 - my first experience with that beautiful show (that would lead to 4 more and counting).
We got into the theatre and the buzz was infectious. Little kids everywhere, and chatter and excitement filling the space. I sat down and took it all in - it was like coming back home, both to this space, and to theatre in general. Sometimes I forget how passionate I am about this art form and the capacity it has to touch and change lives. Having seen the show on Broadway in Chicago a few years ago (and having loved it), I was excited and curious to see what they would do with such a large-scale musical in such a small-scale space. I also knew a few of the people involved, as the title role was being played by a professor from Carthage, and three recent Carthage grads were also in the cast and crew. I flipped through my program and waited eagerly for the show to begin.
The show was fantastic - both Dad and I were so impressed with the vocal talent, character work, and technical aspects. The set and costumes were so incredible, and the quality of the production as a whole was just so good. I smiled and laughed the entire show. (I mean, when you've got a song about burping and farting... this show does not disappoint, let me tell you.)
While Dad and I were really excited to see the show - we were also really looking forward to dinner! He had recommended a place called "Pizza Man" that he remembered from his college days in Milwaukee. Apparently it had burned down years ago, but they rebuilt it to be even better. We looked at the menu and some pictures online before we went and it looked like a really cool place, so we decided to go. Also, we're Roviks, which means we never fail to get excited about a good pizza place.
As we drove through downtown Milwaukee to get to the restaurant, I was reminded how much I love city life. The hustle and bustle, the lights, the people - the energy is really something.
When we got to the restaurant, it was packed, and there was an hour and 25 minute wait. But we were both committed and wanted to stick to the plan, so we decided to wait it out at a Starbucks right down the street. Pre-dinner coffee certainly couldn't hurt.
Dad ordered a spiced apple cider, and I got a caramel mocha, and we sat and talked together. It was such a sweet time with him, discussing life and theatre and faith and theology and redemption. We got excited about heaven together, and I was reminded of God's goodness and faithfulness to me.
Soon, Dad's phone buzzed (It was the restaurant texting us to let us know our table was ready - Yay for 21st century technology!) and we ran back to "Pizza Man" together in the light, drizzly rain.
We looked through the menu and quickly decided what pizza to order. As we waited, we continued to chat and enjoy the super cool atmosphere. It's a really neat place!
Look at this awesome chandelier made of colored bottles! It hangs above the landing of the stairwell - the restaurant has two floors, and we were sitting upstairs. So cool!
Also, the silverware was HUGE. Like, for real. It was as long as the diameter of the plate!
Dad snapped this picture of me - clearly I was excited to eat some pizza! (Note the super cool chandelier behind me.)
Then - the pizza came. It. was. delicious.
(Again, notice the crazy large silverware.)
After much pizza consumption, we left, with stomachs and hearts full. We headed back to our car - thankfully the rain had stopped.
As we drove home, I was filled with gratefulness for such a fun day with my dad. I was so glad God worked it out for us to have this special day together, and so thankful that He didn't leave me in my grogginess and indecision. If He had, I would have missed out on a whole lot of beauty.
Thanks, God. Today was wonderful. And it was all from You.