We were always improvising by Evey McKellar

We are the ones we have been waiting for.

Harry and Hermoine wait as Sirius is tormented by Dementors. Harry is certain his (deceased) dad will show up any minute; after all, it was his dad’s Patronus in the form of the stag that had saved Sirius the first time they walked this timeline. Hermoine’s time-turner had brought them back along this timeline a second time, and now they waited in the woods, watching. But Hermoine’s concern nudges Harry’s faith, He’s dying, Harry. No one’s coming.

Discouraged and resolved, Harry rises to cast his own Patronus. None other than the image of a stag emerges in time to save Sirius; it was Harry who cast it the whole time.

We are the ones we have been waiting for.

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You may not be a Harry Potter fan, but I’m sure you can relate to feeling surprise and heartbreak at some point in your life. A once firm foundation crumbles, the predicted path dissolves, and we find ourselves frozen saying I didn’t expect this and Now what? How long do we wait for someone else to give us our answer?

In season 6 of How I Met Your Mother, Marshall’s dad dies leaving Marshall feeling especially lost. He recalls watching his dad navigate snowy and dark roads as a child, and he yearns for the calm he felt knowing his dad knew exactly what to do. Two episodes later, Marshall drives a similar road, and in his fear and grief he cries out to the darkness for answers. The image of his dad arrives, letting him in on a secret: he couldn’t see either, he was terrified, but he held his face confidently, so his kids could feel safe and calm.

I didn’t expect this and Now what are precisely the spaces where improv arrives again and again. As improvisers, we’re never expecting this; we arrive to the unexpected. We willingly take it on, delight in it, craft with it. What is mishap to the grief-stricken is the method of the improviser.

The improviser, alongside our heroes of history and our advocates for justice, answers: We [shall be] the ones we have been waiting for.

Martin Luther King Jr. arrived to a tempestuous horizon, preaching the message of love, justice and racial equality. He believed in and dreamt of a world he could not yet witness.

We are the ones we have been waiting for.

Professor Klaus Schwab, in his book The Fourth Industrial Revolution, explores the work ahead for humanity as we determine who we will be and how we relate to each other in the midst of our rampant and powerful technological revolution.

We are the ones we have been waiting for.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joins others and helps to lead the collective task of tackling climate change across the spectrums of policy, local action, and daily habits with improvisational fervor.

We are the ones we have been waiting for.

In every fight towards a society that is just and whole, healed and healing, this energy is taken from the stage to the streets, from the podium and pulpit to policy, from the homes to the high towers. Improv gives us the tools to show up as our resilient, improvising selves with our collaborative and resilient community, to the situations that plague our world and society and be the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are trained to create from what we’ve been given, to arrive to the ‘yes’, and to challenge and augment with that beautiful and powerful ‘and’.

There’s no handbook, my friends. But the more I get to know each of you, fellow improvisers and people who arrive with courage and creativity, the more my heartbreak softens, the more my ferocity, courage, and confidence emerges. I believe that no matter what we face, you’ve got my back, and I can arrive to have yours.

In her “Poem for South African Women,” June Jordan writes,

“And who will join this standing up

and the ones who stood without sweet company

will sing and sing

back into the mountains and

if necessary

even under the sea

 

we are the ones we have been waiting for.”

Evey McKellar is a Level 6 Improv student, a writer and UMC clergy. She works for a nonprofit, lives in Dallas, and loves Cane Rosso.