On Labor Day, I went to King Richard’s Faire in Carver, Massachusetts. It was around the fifth time I’ve been to this particular Renaissance Faire, and since I’ve been a few times, I definitely have favorite acts to see. My favorite performer is Jacques Ze Whipper. As Jacques himself explains, his act entails “whip-cracking, horn honking, dangerous (stuffed) animals. A show so funny it’ll… ‘crack’ you up.” Jack Lepiarz (AKA Jacques Ze Whipper) is the son of a circus performer and college professor (for real) and has been performing since he was 6. His act involves various tricks with a whip (think of Indiana Jones but “French” and funny!)
Anyway, I’m sitting in the audience on Monday watching Jacques’ show and nothing was going as planned. His tricks weren’t landing as flawlessly as they normally do. There’s this balloon trick that he does (similar to what Nicole did for a Children’s Message here at CFC!) and he popped three different balloons in attempting the trick. Jacques had to eventually give up, with a shrug and laugh. Uncharacteristically, he even broke character as he said you just gotta love opening weekend, folks!
The end of his act is lighting a whip on fire and doing some tricks, including cracking the whip in a particular way that ends up making a huge fireball. As Jacques was dipping the whip in lighter fluid he made a joke about hoping he didn’t set himself (or anyone else) on fire, considering how the show was going so far. I found myself feeling genuinely nervous. This wasn’t his usual flawless show. This is real fire. This is a real human being who could get hurt. Yikes!
Yet, the show must go on.
Jacques Ze Whipper rallied and finished strong—with a whip on fire, fireballs in the air, wrapping that flaming whip around his own body and leaping over it midair, yelling in triumph at the end, “I am Jacques Ze Whipper!” And he was met with the loud applause of an appreciative audience.
Sometimes life does not go as planned.
No matter how many times we practice something, the performance isn’t perfect.
Because it ends up that life is not perfect.
We are not perfect.
And everything we do in our lives is not perfect.
It takes such strength of character to just keep going, and to keep the faith.
(This Week’s Thoughts 9.5.19)