Monday, January 31, 2011
Reenacting as sharing is a lot more fun than demandingly pursuing "what's in this for me!". Not every reenactor would agree with me on this. But over the years I found that reenactors who enjoy sharing knowledge, experience and laughter with others seem to find the joy they need when an event goes bad. Joy comes from the good times of discovering details which make "history" come alive. Joy comes from watching a child's eyes light up as you help them discover something about history they never imagined. Joy comes from the inner satisfaction of helping a friend improve by encouragement.
Hey, God made us to enjoy helping others. Let the curmudgeons grumble about the politics, the rations or the campsite. Discover the fun of "gaining" by "giving". For me, experimenting with reproducing the patriotic covers has opened up a spring of personal satisfaction and enjoyable friendships. For us as a family, "doing" the Christian Commission, inviting the reenactors in under our fly for a cold cup of lemonade and a bite to eat has brought us great joy and a sense of accomplishment.
We don't have to all "do" living history to the same degree. But consider the possibilities of doing what you normally do to help others learn -- other reenactors and EVEN spectators. Yes, I have dealt with the obnoxious kid coming to our tent and assuming everything on display is for taking or breaking. But there have been dozens of other kids who honestly get interested in learning why I'm there and what I'm doing. Yes, we've had the arrogant authentic purist who grumbles the food we offer isn't authentic. But for each one of those purists are hundreds of thankful reenactors who for a brief moment step back in time in their minds to sense what it must have been like to really be thirsty and hungry and hear "God's love is free and so is this food, soldier. come on in".
Use your imagination to take a mental inventory of what you know and enjoy. You might be surprised how much you have to share with others. And you will be surprised how much "giving out" brings in "gains" of joy and satisfaction.