TRIALS   5'?m2f Joy in the face of trials

AMY -- (enters carrying mail pouch over one shoulder, crosses to 
podium, stuffs mail in it as if it were apartment mail boxes)

LIZ -- (enters, approaches) While you're in there. Do you have 
any mail for apartment 3C?

AMY -- (straighten with a fistful of mail) Good timing, (gives 
to Liz) I was just about to put it into your box. (resumes 
stuffing boxes)

LIZ -- (kisses top envelope noisily) Yes!

AMY -- Good news?

LIZ -- (opening envelope) There's always hope. It's from a 

AMY -- You a writer?

LIZ -- (scanning letter) Does the poverty really show that much?

AMY -- No. You said it was from a publisher. I just....

LIZ -- (kisses letter noisily, fondly) One more!

AMY -- Good news?

LIZ -- It depends upon your point of view. (holds up letter) 
It's a rejection notice.

AMY -- (turning to resume stuffing) Oh, I'm sorry.

LIZ -- Oh, don't be sorry.

AMY -- Why not?

LIZ -- James chapter one, verse two.

AMY -- What's that? A Bible verse?

LIZ -- Yes, it says "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever 
you face trials of many kinds".

AMY -- Pure joy. Pure hogwash. No way I'd ever get any joy out 
of a rejection notice.

LIZ -- Both as a writer and as a Christian, I disagree.

AMY -- Hogwash.

LIZ -- No, seriously. As a writer, I need to experience life's 
disappointments, so I can write authentically about despair.

AMY -- (straightens) Then, you admit that you're not joyful.

LIZ -- Quite the contrary.

AMY -- (resumes) Hogwash.

LIZ -- What, you don't think a person can be both joyful and 
despairing at the same time?

AMY -- Not on this earth.

LIZ -- Haven't you ever been to a Christian funeral?

AMY -- (straightens) As a matter of fact, I was just at a 
Christian funeral last week. They're all a bunch of phonies.

LIZ -- (amused) Why?

AMY -- This old lady died. Boom. No warning. Right on the 
kitchen floor. At the funeral, the husband and the daughter were 
smiling. (resumes) Bunch of phonies.

LIZ -- Did it ever occur to you that they were both happy that 
their loved one went to Heaven?

AMY -- (straightens) They're never going to see the old lady 
again. What's to smile about?

LIZ -- Because they ARE going to see the old lady again, when 
they ALL get to Heaven.

AMY -- (resumes) Hogwash.

LIZ -- The key ingredient is HOPE. Without hope there is no real 
joy at all. (holds up letter) I can CHOOSE to be joyful, because 
both as a writer and as a Christian, I hope to be able to use my 
disappointment and despair later.

AMY -- (straightens) Listen, I can see how, being a writer and 
all, you could write all about your experiences. But no way 
disappointment or despair are good for anything except using up 
a box of Kleanex.

LIZ -- On the contrary, disappointment and despair build up 
perseverance. For instance, at my first rejection letter, I 
cried my way through a whole box of Kleanex. 

AMY -- See? What'd I tell you?

LIZ -- But with each succeeding rejection, I cried less and 
less. And now, because I built up perseverance, I just take it 
in stride.

AMY -- Big deal. So you persevere until you're dirt poor. Then, 

LIZ -- One writer I read about collected 500 rejections before 
he finally got his break. Then he went on to become one of the 
most successful writers of his time. See the hope?

AMY -- I'll give you that one.

LIZ -- I benefit from trials of many kinds in other ways too.

AMY -- Oh, yeah? Like what?

LIZ -- Like, I can be a source of comfort and encouragement to 
other writers when they get rejection notices. Or I could 
transfer my perseverance.

AMY -- (straightens) Transfer? What do you mean transfer? 

LIZ -- Perseverance is perseverance, no matter what despair 
helped develop it. For instance, I could share my hope with a 
dancer or an actor or anyone thinking about giving up and going 
home... even a cancer patient who has to endure one more 
chemotherapy treatment.

AMY -- Oh, really?!

LIZ -- Really. I may not know what the nausea and fatigue are 
like, but I do know what it's like to want to give up.

AMY -- (finished, straightens) Funny you should say that! 

LIZ -- Why?

AMY -- My Mom's cancer just came back. 

LIZ -- Oh, really?

AMY -- Yeah, she's real discouraged. And I don't know what to 
tell her. I mean, I've never...

LIZ -- Give me her phone number. I'll call her.

AMY -- Would you really?! (reaches into pocket) Here. Here's the 
phone number of her hospital room. Would you really call her?

LIZ -- Sure.

AMY -- Oh, thanks! (backing toward exit) Thanks a lot.

LIZ -- This hospital is just a couple blocks away. I'll go see 
her today.

AMY -- (stops) Oh. Ah, could you maybe wait til tonight instead?

LIZ -- Sure. Why?

AMY -- I want to be there when you talk about the hope, you know 
of Heaven? 

LIZ -- You mean the hogwash?

AMY -- Hey, I'm sorry about that. I was... I'm just facing 
trials of many kinds. 

LIZ -- (holds up letter) I understand. (exiting) See you tonight.

AMY -- (exiting opposite) Yeah, see you tonight.

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