Meet Ms. Hannigan. (Remember her from the story Annie?) She’s had a hard-knock life. And she takes it out on all those kids! She has a certain amount of power, but she’s unsettled and unhappy. She’s stuck in the system, and she abuses the system; she’s lured by money and lies in order to gain more money.
Seems these days we are all having our version of a hard-knock life! Can life get any crazier? Global pandemic, anti-racism protests, hours of zooming, a contentious presidential election, the loss of the inimitable Ruth Bader Ginsberg, socially distanced church services, huge fires here on the west coast … and each of us can add our own particular family and life challenges to our list of crazy.
And perhaps in all of this, we are being asked to look at the ways that we are Ms. Hannigan, holding tight to our little spheres of influence and power, while the world is asking us to release our comfortable niches and see things in a whole new way.
Enter Annie. She’s an orphan, a marginalized young girl, and yet she has a vision for how life might be better tomorrow, and her spirit is indomitable! She’s not afraid to create community wherever she goes, she sings and dances her cares and hopes, she builds bridges between the powerful and the oppressed. Perhaps she has a gift for us in these crazy times!
So why Annie? This summer I had a very special time dancing, playing and creating with my grandnieces and grandnephew in a two-week visit to Michigan. And the story that we played with was Annie. (You may remember I enacted Wizard of Oz with them a few years back.) It so happens that there was a remake of the musical in 2014 with various of the main characters being played by People of Color, and so was perfect for our little family unit, with a new relevance for our world today.
So, if you scroll down to the bottom of this blog, you get to see our video rendition of Annie (in which I play Ms. Hannigan, of course!)
Meanwhile, what are our “Annie” practices? We need our heart-opening prayer, we need deep breaths, we need our play, we need our family and friends, we need our walks outdoors, our time for laughing and our time for crying. We need our creative outlets and we need our dance! We need to be working on our uncomfortable edges to grow more courageous, and we need to soften and be compassionate with ourselves in these times of upheaval.
Here is our family’s playful version of Annie created with my beloved grandnieces/ nephew (and a few other willing family members.) I even got to throw in a liturgical dance as Ms. Hannigan … (when she has her change of heart, of course!) Let’s all pray that our “tomorrow” of no COVID will come soon. Meanwhile, let’s live our days with love, laughter and deep compassion for one another. (P.S. … if you only have a short time, the first 3 minutes are totally worth the click!)
The last line of the story is – “I don’t need anything but you!”
Betsey Beckman, MM