Life Lessons From “Sister Act”

I realized last night that I still remember all the songs and associated choreography to the entire “Sister Act 1” (and 2) soundtrack. Now, I know what you may be wondering, Michael, how on earth are you still single at 28 when you spent six hours of your Saturday night watching “Sister Act” and dancing in your kitchen? Touché. Listen, I had a moment of weakness. “Sister Act” does something to me.

When I was twelve years old, I received the “Sister Act 1” & “Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit”  VHS and CD set, and my life was forever changed. There was something magical about those films, and something even more fantastic about the storylines and symbolism that existed for me. Let’s take Sister Mary Robert, for example. If you’re not tracking by name, remember she’s the mousy one who gets to wear a different (and more iconic) robe than the rest of the sisters. Sister Mary Robert just needed someone to push her out of her shell a bit. I needed this same push. It took people challenging me and putting me into a spotlight (in whatever form that existed) for me to truly find my own, and more full voice (this metaphor is everything right now).

It’s taken me sixteen years to put these pieces of the puzzle together. I vividly remember one morning during my sophomore year of high school, when two friends and I performed the entire set list from “Sister Act 2” for our Advanced Theater class. There is a good chance that if cell phones were around as actively as they are now, we would have gone viral. It was ferocious. It was real. It was uninhibited. This is why, for so long, I was drawn to other big personalities. We lived life loud. We made no excuses. We breathed in fun and energy, and as a result of that, we also needed a touch of validation and/or affirmation.

It took me a long time to truly find the spirit of being by myself and valuing ‘me’ as a priority. This is what I like to call, “The Lauryn Hill Moment.” You know which moment I am talking about, amidst the failed piano intros that left us all in gasp as to whether or not Lauryn would come correct in, “Joyful, Joyful.” It took Lauryn looking into the audience, seeing her mother, and taking a subtle breath to truly realize that she would be okay. And that she was supported. Validation and affirmation, though at times inconsistent, are essential for all of us, and make a world of difference when facing fears, new endeavors, and unknown adventures.

Finally, “Your teacher says take off your robes.” You know this moment. This moment gives me life, and serves as a reminder that being unconventional and/or just plain going back to the basics could be exactly what we need. I have this good friend who I grew up with, and we will often say to each other, “Your teacher says take off your robes.” After a nice laugh, this also serves as our reminder to chill out, breathe, and not take life too serious. Not everything in life has to be formal. Relax. Calm down.

“Sister Act” is more than a nun creating good music. “Sister Act” is more than a group of transformed high school students. “Sister Act” is a reminder for us all to use our full voice, accept validation and affirmation, and finally, to get back to the basics. Take off your robe. Be big. Sing. Laugh. Challenge. With each new week comes new opportunity to change your life and others. Make a joyful noise, and then, make no apologies.

Come, and join the chorus,

Michael

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