It’s my 2016 favorite book in the pure entertainment and fun category. And it’s a memoir. (That’s my always favorite category.) Little House in the Hollywood Hills: A Bad Girl’s Guide to Becoming Miss Beadle, Mary X, and Me by Charlotte Stewart.
I remember Charlotte Stewart as Miss Beadle on Little House on the Prairie, and vaguely remember her as Betty Briggs from the Twin Peaks TV show. As Betty, she was the eternal optimist who wore a smiley face button to Laura Palmer’s funeral. Miss Beadle was the delightful school marm that taught Laura and Mary in Walnut Grove, the single teacher who always presented herself perfectly.
Oh, the stories Charlotte shared in her book! Behind the scene looks into off-camera story lines and celebrations, relationships that shouldn’t have happened, and a whole bunch of messiness. For Charlotte, heavy drug use was a constant theme and influencer in her life. Throw in cancer, a few marriages, and many horrible choices, and it’s easy to understand why her life was rough.
But I only knew her as Miss Beadle. Beautiful, kind, and always perfect. I didn’t know anything about Charlotte.
This book reminded me…
The person we see in front us may not be who that person really is.
We see Miss Beadle, when it’s really Charlotte standing in front of us.
I get that TV characters are just that…characters. And we aren’t supposed to see the real person. But what happens when we observe real people in real life, and we assume that we are seeing their real life? And it’s not.
We live behind closed doors and pulled drapes. And although we want to be and show people the best of who we are, it’s easy to become a character, pretending to be someone else. So, if we know it’s easy to be someone we aren’t, it’s a natural connect-the-dots to remember that those around us might be doing the same thing. Playing a role. Because their real life story isn’t the one they want to tell.
One of the commitments I’m making to myself this year is to remember…
There are a lot of stories being written in the privacy of homes that we will never read or watch. And when those story-writers and story-livers show up in our real lives, they may be re-writing their script, changing costumes, and even changing characters, because they think it may make them appear…better. More put together.
That’s why I want to do a better job of intentionally showing up in life with Grace. Meeting people where they are at. Giving them permission to be who they really are. Embracing their real stories and linking arms with them as they tell them. Walking with them as we figure out how to live by faith, pray always, and encourage each other.
Wherever you are in your storyline…let’s meet there. Let’s not change characters because we think that’s what our audience expects. Let’s offer a resting place for weary actors. Let’s help write stories that carry themes of Hope. Forgiveness. Patience.