Being the Hands and Feet at Salt and Light
By Dave Ebert
One of the things so many people might miss about the beauty of the art that is improv is that improv is for far more than the stage. The fundamentals of improvisation lend themselves to an infinite number of applications in life, business, and relationships, both professional and personal.
In October 2018, our team, then known as HaHaMen, performed at a fundraiser for Salt and Light Coalition. That night, I felt the Lord put on my heart that I needed to share my testimony. At the end of our performance, I took a few moments to share my battle with depression and suicidal ideations. I left with an encouragement for anyone in the room that might be wrestling with the choice I wrestled with for so many years. I stepped off stage not knowing, and still to this day don’t know, if there was anyone in the room that needed to hear what I said. I hope that I made a difference that night, and I might never know on this side.
However, that night, after being open and taking that risk, Izabel Olson, founder of Salt and Light Coalition, stopped me. The conversation went to the idea of me coming in to use improv as a way to help their work with survivors of sex trafficking. Because of the sensitive nature of the program, men are very rare volunteers in the program, understandably. I was honored and still respect the weight of the honor to work with Salt and Light.
Since that night, I have traveled into the city to bring improv fundamentals to these amazing women. When I think of Jesus teaching about the “least of these,” I think of these women. Not at all because they are “the least,” because no one in God’s creation is the least; but, rather, we, flawed humans, we classify people we see as the ”least.” We see the physical scars of a life of tragedy and struggle, not giving real thought to the possibility that these scars may not be self-inflicted or self-caused. They might be the scars caused by attempting to forget what they have been through. The cause or reason of the scars of life do not hide from God the beauty of the child He created. We would do well to seek to see with the eyes of God.
That would be message one in this blog. See people with the eyes of God. Watch how that changes your life and your world.
Message two is to comment on the strength and resiliency of the human spirit.
These women have been through untold and unimaginable hell on earth. I don’t know specifics, and I don’t need to. All I know is these women are working hard, and Salt and Light Coalition is coming alongside in that journey, to live. They are looking to build a real life, maybe for the first time in their existence. No matter what they’ve been through, their heads are held high, they are able to make eye contact, and they are able to learn.
And that is so impressive and touching.
These women are all amazing.
Message three is the blessing of using improv to be a part of the healing and growth is just that…a blessing. With improv, it doesn’t teach you to be funny. It teaches connection. It teaches listening and responding. It teaches give and take. All while teaching the most important thing I can facilitate-the feeling of joy and laughter.
If my time at Salt and Light Coalition gives nothing but an hour of joy and laughter…allowing these survivors a chance to drop the burdens of life and laugh like children for an hour…then my time is well, well, well spent. And I am thankful for this honor and blessing.
A couple months ago, I came in and one of the ladies had a countenance that suggested she wanted nothing to do with anyone. She looked ready to fight or ready to yell at the next person who crossed her. To her credit, she participated in the exercises. Within five minutes, I literally saw her crack up. The burden of anger, frustration, bitterness, and whatever she was carrying literally cracked and fell to the floor. It was beautiful. It was miraculous.
I, as well as the entire team of Well Versed Comedy, want to do more of this. We love what improv can do. We can bring laughter through performing, or we can laugh together through workshops together.
I love improv and the gift God has given me to bring this to others.