The show must go on! Men.

You remember the old saying, “The show must go on!” Unless you are a student of the history of theatre or a trivia junkie you’ll not likely know the origin of the expression, but you nonetheless understand it has something to do with theatre. You also understand its broader meaning. That is, in the face of a setback, you must persevere.

We understand why we endure to protect our own selves. We also understand why we endure life’s calamities to protect those we love. But what of everyone else that might be affected if, in the face of a personal crisis, we just give up?

When the director is called hurriedly backstage to find his lead actress has collapsed, despair or even panic may reach for him. But he hears the hum of the audience and the orchestra tuning its instruments. He is intimately aware of the costs to put on the show, and not just the cash, but the off-the-books costs measured in blood, sweat, and tears. Likewise he understands the hopes of so many that are tied to its success.

So,  though his lead cannot go on, the show must.

Battlefield commanders, from those who have led a handful of men to those who have led legions, have faced this conundrum more times than there are stars in the sky. It’s the nature of war. Some have been able to maintain their composure; others have not. But we count on our soldiers, who suddenly come face to face with the shock of the unexpected and who might be gripped by terror and panic, to man up. The consequences are too terrible for them not to, but also for us, for whom they are fighting.

Of course, it is not nearly so consequential for the play to go on as it is for our soldiers to press on. But still I think the director, the other actors, and the whole production crew must just man up and get ‘er done.

The show must go on.

M.C. Atkins

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