“It’s only Tuesday,” I thought as I weaved through the massive crowds in Times Square to get to the Imperial Theater. “It isn’t safe for me to be out here with all these people given the Coronavirus outbreak. I don’t know that a Broadway show with my mentee is worth the risk. I take precautions but everyone out here isn’t fresh or as careful.”
As I rounded the corner on 45th Street, I saw the marquee for the musical about the Temptations, “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg.” I’d gotten tickets for my mentee Emily and myself for free from the mentorship program. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to get Emily to take a break from her exams, worrying about colleges and to expose her to new music.
Emily and I sat in the orchestra with some other mentorship program members and chatted until the show opened in dramatic fashion. From the first song the audience was singing along, clapping their hands, and fully engrossed in the story that was about a whole lot more than music.
In the words of the narrator, modeled after Temptations singer Otis Williams, Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” is about sacrifice. It’s about what we go through and are willing to give up or put to the side to achieve our objectives. In order to forward the group, Williams is willing to let his “ brothers” go and “neglect” his only son.
The tragic tale forced me to rethink my small sacrifice that night. I watched Emily stay out later than she expected to see the end of the musical.
As I limped to Penn Station I wondered, what am I willing to sacrifice for people I love versus a goal? Do people hold more value to me than my dreams or does that shift at times?
A short time later, I got a text from Emily telling me she was glad I told her about the show. I smiled and thought, “I’m not Otis Williams. I find it hard to put my aspirations about the people I care about. Perhaps that’s stumped my success but it’s expanded my heart and connections with others.
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