E115: What Is Grace?
Questions for Reflection
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Beth Demme (00:03):
Welcome to the Discovering Our Scars Podcast,
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:05):
Where we share personal experiences so we can learn from each other.
Beth Demme (00:08):
Our mission is to talk about things that you might relate to but that you don't hear being discussed in other places.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:13):
Our hope is that you're encouraged to have honest conversations with people in your own life. I'm Steph.
Beth Demme (00:17):
And I'm Beth. On today's show, we're going to have an honest conversation titled, "What Is Grace?"
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:23):
Then we'll share a slice of life and the show will close with questions for reflection where we'll invite you to reflect on the conversation in your own life.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:31):
So Pastor Beth, what is grace?
Beth Demme (00:34):
Well I mean the church would describe it, the way I as a pastor would describe it is, it's unmerited favor from God. It's something that you can't earn. It's just a way of describing the fact that God always loves us, even when we know we don't deserve it or maybe we don't feel lovable, God's love is still there.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:55):
But I thought if you're a Catholic, I thought you have to confess your sins to an old guy and you have to burn candles and give a lot of money. So is that how you get grace?
Beth Demme (01:11):
I mean all of those things could be part of discipleship. That would be good for an individual to do. But no, that's not how you get grace.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:21):
Then why would they tell us we have to do those things if you're saying it's just there?
Beth Demme (01:26):
Well I think it's two different things. One is what do you do for yourself so that you feel how close God always is. And that's something that you are doing for yourself not to earn something with God or not to earn a place with God or earn a relationship with God. Or earn more jewels for your crown when you're in Heaven. That's not good theology. Yeah.
Beth Demme (01:53):
So grace is something that you don't have to earn. In fact, it is a word that is meant to describe that concept. Unearned, unmerited favor.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:04):
So is grace strictly religious thing? Because as you were talking about it, obviously you were talking about it being provided by God.
Beth Demme (02:13):
I would be curious to know if it started as a religious thing. I looked into it a little bit, into the etymology of the word and it seems like it started out as coming from a word that meant thanks, which makes sense. Like gratitude, you know, G-R-A. It has a very similar beginning. But it's not just religious because with my credit card, I have a grace period. Or if I'm making a reservation through OpenTable, I have a 15 minute grace period.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:44):
And at Disney, when they used to have fast pass, you could actually go 15 minutes before or after your time because that was the grace period. I know that because I was a cast member. And I'd be like ... It was so fun when you'd be like, "Sure, yeah." They're like, "I'm late, I'm so sorry. Can I come in?" Of course. I get to be the good guy.
Beth Demme (03:01):
It's in the 15 minutes, you're fine.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:04):
Or if it was ... If I wanted to make a magical moment, I had a button I could push.
Beth Demme (03:08):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:08):
Yeah. So if it was even an hour late or something, I'd push a button and let them come in.
Beth Demme (03:12):
And extend their grace period?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:13):
I just let them in. Yeah.
Beth Demme (03:14):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:16):
Yeah. [crosstalk 00:03:16] awesome-
Beth Demme (03:16):
I kind of like the metaphorical value of that. Like press a button and extend grace. I like that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:22):
Beth Demme (03:23):
Like an easy button but better.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:25):
Beth Demme (03:27):
Yeah. So I think that grace shows up in other ways. Or even the idea of a ballerina, someone who's very elegant, being graceful, being grace-filled. I think it comes out in language in a lot of ways.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:41):
That's true. So does every religion or denomination or such and such recognize this same grace? Because I know when we were doing the episode with Katie Langston who wrote about leaving the Mormon church, I remember her talking about how Mormons are striving for grace and didn't fully understand that. So maybe you could unpack that?
Beth Demme (04:06):
Yeah. That was one of the things that I learned from her that I thought was really interesting. So her book is actually called Sealed; An Unexpected Journey Into The Heart of Grace. So it is very much her journey to discover grace because she was raised to believe that she had to do, like you were talking about, how there are things that the church expects people to do. Well it's like you have to do these things in order to be okay with God and that God is always measuring you against the choices you make and the way that you act and the way that you think. And for her to discover in Christianity that that's not how God works was really ... It really opened her eyes but also opened her heart.
Beth Demme (04:48):
And one of the things that she talks about in her book that I thought was so interesting is that they would try to Evangelize ... So she is a Mormon, had to do a mission and so she would actually go out and Evangelize. And sometimes they would meet Christians and a Christian would say, "Well, you're saying I have to earn my way to God and I don't have to earn my way to God." And the Mormon response would be, "First we work, then God makes up for what we lack." Like you got to put in the effort and then God's grace will be sufficient. And that's not, at least, what I believe and it's not what I ... I hope that no one ever hears that from me when they're at my church because I would ... I really don't believe that. I don't believe that we have to earn our way to God or that God has got a big ledger book and is keeping track of a good column and a not-so-good column and then a really bad column. And then at the end, it all gets balanced out. I don't think that's how it works.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:46):
So how does God show grace?
Beth Demme (05:48):
That feels like such a big question but such an easy question all at the same time because I think that God shows us grace in so many ways. I think creation is grace and I think that the fact that we have, broadly speaking ... I understand that there are people who don't have this draw. But I think broadly speaking, humans generally feel drawn to a higher power. I think even that magnetic pull is grace.
Beth Demme (06:22):
And in the United Methodist Church, one of the things that's really distinctive about our Wesleyan heritage is that we actually think of grace being in stages or phases which, there's a method. We're very methodical people. So there's prevenient grace which is almost the best grace because it is pre. It goes before even your awareness of God and it's preventing grace which means nothing you can do can completely destroy the image of God in you. That gets prevented. The complete destruction would be prevented by God's grace. And that's different from some of our other mainline Protestant friends who would be like, no, humans, totally depraved, image of God completely erased or can be totally destroyed. No, no, no, no, no, because God's too gracious for that. There's too much grace for that.
Beth Demme (07:24):
So prevenient grace and then once you have an awareness of God and you can, oh yeah, I see myself as someone who is created and loved and I want to know more about my creator and more about my God, then that becomes justifying grace. And then once you've made that decision, you're walking the road of life with God, journeying with God, then we call that sanctifying grace and the idea is that you're going on to Christian perfection. Which doesn't mean you're perfect. It means your motives are perfect. You operate out of a desire for love of God and love of neighbor.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:07):
Can we lose God's grace?
Beth Demme (08:09):
I don't think so.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:10):
Beth Demme (08:11):
I don't think so. This is why issues like the death penalty are so tough because I believe God's grace is always operative, I think there's always a possibility of redemption. In state-sponsored execution, that gets cut off, that opportunity gets cut off. I pray that it still happens, that somehow God's aware of this timeline that humans have created. But yeah, so I would say there isn't anything that we can do. That's the prevenient grace, too. Nothing can totally destroy the image of God in us.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:53):
So is it only God that can provide grace or can we provide grace as well, humans, people?
Beth Demme (09:02):
Yeah. I think we can show grace to each other. I feel like I've received grace.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:06):
Beth Demme (09:08):
Just times where someone was nicer to me than I knew I deserved. Or with my kids, they're just ... They don't seem to remember what I would consider my mistakes as a mom. That's very grace-filled. And part of that's just how memory works, maybe but also, I just receive it as grace. Yeah. I don't know, do you feel like you've been shown grace other than in that church, religious, spiritual sense?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:40):
Well I mean I think a good example for me was when I was in the mental hospital and everyone that I interacted with just really treated me like ... Is they did this to themselves. But the only person that I felt like showed me grace was the social worker. And I got to see her, I think on the last day because she got me out. Because she was really good. But the social worker saw me as a full person and listened to my words and said, "I'm going to do everything I can to get you out." And took the names of the people I said to call and did that. And I still, I wish I knew her name, I wish I knew how to contact her. I still, she is such a shining star in my story.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:24):
And I still ... I never really interacted with social workers before, never. I knew they were good people and I knew they were good people, didn't get paid enough, and we need more of them and we need to support them more. I knew those things. But it was after that time, I even have more, such a high opinion of social workers and realize how important they are. And yes, we need them for people. They are advocates for people when no one else is listening or caring. So that would probably be a big time that I was shown grace when no one else was and I really needed it.
Beth Demme (10:59):
I think that you just gave maybe the best definition of grace I've heard and I think it's deeply theological and it's that the social worker saw you as a whole person. I think that that's what God does when we experience God's grace. I am a Christian so that is my framework for talking about God but I also would not presume to limit God. So I think my friends who are Jewish experience God's grace, too. It's one God.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (11:28):
And I think that's exactly how we can show grace to other people is if you were just very short-tempered today and different than your norm, I think I would realize something must be going on. What can I do to help not make this worse? Because I think a natural reaction if someone is angry is to then match that anger, to ... Because that just ... It's just a natural reaction. But I think grace is realizing there's probably something going on. I don't know that they want to talk about it right now. Maybe I can bring that up. But I might not be able to so how can I show them grace during this time and help them get through this and not make it worse and not just go to a mean place and just go to a caring place?
Beth Demme (12:21):
Yeah. And again, in that moment, you would be seeing the short-tempered person as a whole person.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:26):
Beth Demme (12:26):
Rather than defining them by that one moment where they're not at their best. And wow, how different would my life be if I could interact with everyone that way? Always treat them as their whole, complete, best self, instead of giving into the temptation to see them only as that one negative moment?
Beth Demme (12:48):
I'm leading a study right now in preparation for Easter where we're looking at the different people who were present at the crucifixion. And we just have been talking about the two people, the two criminals, who were executed on either side of Jesus. How their entire lives then get defined by the worst thing they ever did. I would not want to be ... I would not want my life to be defined by the worst thing I ever did which is maybe why grace is so important to me because I need it so much.
Beth Demme (13:18):
What's the first thing you think of when you hear the word grace?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:21):
I guess it would have to be context. Like it could be a name. That's a popular name for somebody.
Beth Demme (13:26):
Or like a TV show, like Will And Grace.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:29):
That's true. Well there you go. See, it is a name. Yes. Yeah, maybe that would be something people probably think of. I also thought of grace is something that people say before a meal.
Beth Demme (13:40):
Right, right, yeah. Let's say grace. Yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:43):
Beth Demme (13:43):
So I wonder if that's regional. I'd be curious to know that. Is that a Southern thing? Other people are-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:49):
What else would you call it?
Beth Demme (13:51):
A prayer, a blessing.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:52):
Pray for a meal, yeah.
Beth Demme (13:53):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:55):
That does feel Southern, actually.
Beth Demme (13:57):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:57):
When I think it in my head, I hear someone Southern saying it.
Beth Demme (14:00):
Let's say grace.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:00):
Let's say grace. I guess we wouldn't know. We're Southern so I guess we wouldn't know whether it's regional or not. Do you say grace before a meal?
Beth Demme (14:13):
Always. Always. Always.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:16):
Beth Demme (14:16):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:17):
And what do you-
Beth Demme (14:18):
Even in New York City.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:19):
I was about to ask you that.
Beth Demme (14:20):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:22):
I was about to say that but then I was like that felt out of context. She went to New York Spring Break, spoiler.
Beth Demme (14:27):
Yes. We'll talk about it in Slice of Life but yes. Even on vacation.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:32):
Why are you doing it? And what does that mean to you?
Beth Demme (14:35):
Yeah. I do it because it's an easy thing to do, to pause and to just have a moment of gratitude and also a moment to acknowledge that I am receiving something, especially if we're out to eat. I am receiving something that I have done nothing to produce or create and I can be grateful for that. I need to be grateful for that rather than taking it for granted or being ... And so, I pause and say grace and I have a few wrote things that I say so I can do it kind of quickly. And I never do it in a way ... I hope I never do it in a way that draws attention to myself in a restaurant or anything which is why it gets a little bit trickier on vacation because I don't always know the customs of where we are. But yeah, I always say grace.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:27):
So you say it because you're thankful. So when God shows us grace, is that showing that he's thankful for us?
Beth Demme (15:34):
Oh. I like that. Maybe.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:38):
And if we're showing grace to someone else, is that also showing that we're grateful for them.
Beth Demme (15:44):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:45):
I think it all ties into it.
Beth Demme (15:47):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:49):
Like that social worker seeing me as a human being, as a whole human, and being thankful that I'm here and maybe being thankful that she has something that she can do to help me-
Beth Demme (16:01):
Right, that's right.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:02):
... in providing that.
Beth Demme (16:03):
You know we recently did an episode with Dr. Jill where we talked about the people we can stop wasting our emotions on. I wonder if in some way, we were saying there are folks who don't deserve grace.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:15):
What do you think, Pastor Beth? Are there people that don't deserve grace?
Beth Demme (16:19):
I think everyone deserves ... Well the thing is, nobody deserves it. It's undeserved. It's unmerited. So maybe in a way, nobody deserves grace-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:30):
But we're going to give it anyway.
Beth Demme (16:31):
Including me. And so as part of my gratitude for just the fact that I can even know God, part of that gratitude, I feel like I pass that on in some way by showing grace to others. But I guess it's probably wasted on some folks like narcissists, it's probably wasted on them. And I guess that's okay too. Because what's the alternative? To try to match their narcissism?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:58):
I would agree with what you said. No one deserves it but give it to them anyways. I mean, yeah, it probably is wasted on them but does it do something for you? I don't know. Maybe by providing grace to someone else, even someone that is a narcissist and will never be able to fully feel it, maybe it is providing some comfort or some humanity to you, so why not?
Beth Demme (17:27):
And I do think grace is something we can practice.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:30):
How do we practice it?
Beth Demme (17:31):
I think the first thing is to be aware that we need it and receive it and that we can practice it in ways that start small like in traffic. We can let in somebody, even if they don't use their blinker. I can tell they need to be in my lane. I could just, I don't know, let them in. That's a little act of grace. All the way to, like you were saying, not responding when someone comes in very emotional and are very hot. Like offer grace to them. All the way to forgiving the bigger, harder things. That takes practice.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (18:09):
Yeah. That's something that I always try to do when I'm driving is if somebody does something not great when they're driving, something wrong, I automatically think well that must have been a mistake. Or they must have somewhere really important to go because when I make a mistake driving, that's always the reason for me. So if my reason is that I made a mistake, it's very possible that it could be that reason for them too. So in that sense, I want to receive grace for those things, so I make sure that I give people grace for those things. So those are the kind of things that, what do I want to receive grace for? Let me give that grace to other people.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (18:51):
And so for me, it's like it's doing something for someone that you don't expect anything else in return. I think there's sometimes, it's a natural thing, like if someone gives you a gift, you feel like you have to give them a gift back. If somebody washes your car, then you got to wash their car. But it's like, no, then that just becomes chores. But when I do something for someone, I literally do it and do not expect anything in return and I'm not keeping a tally. But I do think there are people that keep that tally in their head.
Beth Demme (19:24):
So just yesterday, I was driving and it was in a part of town that I don't drive in very often. Now I have lived in Tallahassee a really long time. I have lived here ... What year is this? I have lived here almost 30 years so I should know my way around town, right? Well I got to this road and it was a three-lane road and then it said right lane ends. So I moved over. And then immediately, my lane ended. And so I was in this position where I had to ... There was no room behind me so I had to accelerate and get in front of a garbage truck, actually. And I thought, all of those people think that I am just such a jerk because I didn't ... But I didn't know that I had to merge all the way down to one lane. But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe they were driving along and going, oh, she made a mistake. Oh yeah, I've been there. Oh, I hope she gets where she's going safely. Right? Instead of ... I'm nervous about all the bad things they're thinking about me and maybe they weren't. Maybe they were showing me grace.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:25):
Maybe they're like, oh, I've been there. Because there's so many times where I've been there too where a lane ends and you're like, oh my gosh. And you try to memorize where they all are but hello, there's a lot.
Beth Demme (20:35):
Yeah. Signage, please.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:38):
Yeah. I do think it's a universal thing, driving, people get very angry with. I think there's little grace given with driving.
Beth Demme (20:48):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:48):
That's been my observation.
Beth Demme (20:50):
Sometimes I offer grace but I do say something sarcastic which is probably not ideal. But I'll say something like, "Yes, I would love to share this road with you." But I share it, so doing the right thing. Maybe not thinking the right thing.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:05):
Sometimes I offer grace and then I see the bumper stickers on their car and I'm like, "Yeah, you were going to do that anyways."
Beth Demme (21:13):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:14):
Okay, well ... Bye.
Beth Demme (21:16):
I was trying to offer you grace but you were going to just take it. You were going to just take that spot.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:21):
Yeah. And I'm like, "Please, just go ahead. Go in front. I don't want to be behind you or near you so just-
Beth Demme (21:25):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:26):
... speed up."
Beth Demme (21:27):
That's true, yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:28):
So another phrase that I've heard before is grace under pressure. Is that related to grace, you think? Or is that just some cliché?
Beth Demme (21:39):
No, I think it's related to grace in the same way that someone being graceful or grace-filled or elegant. Like the same way that those are related.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:48):
So is that basically being able to be kind and level-headed when you're being pressured?
Beth Demme (21:54):
I think so. It's like what you were talking about, not coming back ... Not matching someone's tone or temper but just being even and not reactive, being responsive but not reactive. I think that shows grace under pressure. You're doing them the favor of not coming in matching their over-raw emotion. It's one of the many reasons that I probably could never be a supreme court justice. Because if I sat in front of the Senate and they asked me ridiculous questions, I think I would possibly not show grace under pressure and instead would react and be like, "Why would you say it that way?" Yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:41):
Yeah, that's definitely somewhere you need grace under pressure. So Beth, as a pastor, do you have more opportunities to show grace, would you say?
Beth Demme (22:49):
I think so. I mean I can think about opportunities I had before I was a pastor and then the opportunities I have now. I had a woman come in this week and she has stopped by before. And things are really hard for her. Her husband is very sick and they have to go out of town for his chemo treatments and all sorts of things start to spiral out of control when someone is in that situation. It's hard. He can't work, he's not well. It's hard for her to work because of his treatment schedule. And then how do you earn money to support yourself and you can't really work? And she has an employer that's not paying her and all these things. And because it's COVID, we did the elbow bump thing and then she said, "Is there any way I could get a hug?" And I love to hug. And so I hugged her and I gave her a pastor Beth hug. And she just melted and she said, "Oh, there was healing in that hug." It was a very powerful moment of grace.
Beth Demme (23:55):
I didn't give her a bunch of money. I did give her some Golden Corral gift cards, thank you very much. And she came back the next day and thanked me for them.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:04):
Beth Demme (24:06):
But yeah, just to see her as a person and listen to her, those were opportunities that I didn't often get when I wasn't a pastor. But they happen more regularly now.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:19):
So would you say if more people want to have the opportunity to practice grace, they need to go to pastor school?
Beth Demme (24:28):
If you want opportunities to practice grace, you can come hang out with me at my church and I will put you to work. And when people come in and need to be seen as a whole person, you can be the one doing that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:40):
We'll put a sign up in the description.
Beth Demme (24:46):
We have a ton of fun making this podcast and we love knowing that you have fun listening. Some of you have asked how you can support us in this work. Well actually, there is something you can do. We're now on buymeacoffee.com. You can go there and become a monthly supporter or just buy us a one-time cup of coffee, or tea, for Steph.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:05):
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Beth Demme (25:23):
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Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:37):
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Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:51):
Beth, you just got back from New York City.
Beth Demme (25:54):
New York City? I did. I did. And we had such a good time.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:00):
So tell me about the shows you saw.
Beth Demme (26:02):
Okay. So I saw Wicked.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:04):
Wicked, the best musical ever.
Beth Demme (26:05):
Yeah. So ... Let me just say it. I saw Wicked, Dear Evan Hansen, and Book of Mormon. And-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:11):
Beth Demme (26:12):
All great. And we were able to get good seats for all shows. They were all basically sold out. Like I didn't see any empty seats around us. They also, all the theaters, were really strict on the mask mandate. Everybody had to wear a mask the whole time which I appreciated.
Beth Demme (26:27):
So the thing about Wicked is I know there are Sundays when it's just things don't go well. Like you just have times that are off. I think I saw them on an off night.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:39):
Beth Demme (26:40):
Because there were little things that were glitchy. Like at the top of the stage, there's this dragon thing. And it didn't completely work and only one of its eyes were lit up.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:51):
It makes it more spooky that way.
Beth Demme (26:52):
That was kind of off. And then there was one point where Elphaba randomly wasn't green for like about 90 seconds. And then poof, she was green again. It was really-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:02):
That's a weird magic trick.
Beth Demme (27:03):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:04):
She's painted green.
Beth Demme (27:05):
I think they do it with lights now.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:08):
Beth Demme (27:08):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:09):
What do you mean? How ... No.
Beth Demme (27:11):
You should Google it because the actress that plays Elphaba was this is too much makeup, we've got to find a different way to do it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:16):
No. She's been painted green since it started in 2003.
Beth Demme (27:22):
I invite you to Google it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:23):
She is ... There's no way that they-
Beth Demme (27:25):
And I promise you, we were sitting there-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:27):
Were her hands green? Her hands and her face are green.
Beth Demme (27:31):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:33):
And her elbows and her shoulders when she has the sleeveless shirt.
Beth Demme (27:37):
The point at which she was not green for about 90 seconds, she was alone on the stage, standing center stage, and there was a lot of smoke and stuff around her and she was singing. And I am telling you, she was not green.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:53):
Beth Demme (27:54):
I don't remember.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:56):
It wasn't defying gravity was it? Where she flies in the air?
Beth Demme (27:59):
I don't remember.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:00):
Was she in the air?
Beth Demme (28:02):
She was not in the air at the moment she wasn't green but I don't remember if maybe she went in the air right after.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:06):
Did she have the hat on? The pointy hat?
Beth Demme (28:09):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:10):
There is no way that she is lighted green. I can't even imagine that. You're saying the whole time she's on stage, they light her green?
Beth Demme (28:21):
All I can tell you is that for 90 seconds, she wasn't green. And so I think it was a glitchy night. And the actress who plays-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:30):
Beth Demme (28:30):
... Glenda, was amazing but a little bit screechy.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:35):
What do you mean by that?
Beth Demme (28:36):
Like I mean like-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:36):
Beth Demme (28:37):
Yeah. Like her high notes were a little bit like, oh that sounds just like my tinnitus. It was ... I just-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:42):
Maybe it was your-
Beth Demme (28:43):
I just don't think it was their best night. They can't all be their best performances. I'm just saying, it can't-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:49):
Also, we got to realize this is during COVID. They had a year, over a year, where they weren't performing. I mean the fact that they got anything together is a pretty big accomplishment.
Beth Demme (29:02):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:03):
And they had to shut down, I think, around December or something. They had to shut down again because I think too many people in their cast got COVID. So maybe she's had COVID.
Beth Demme (29:12):
Yeah. It was an amazing show. I'm not trying to take anything away. I'm just saying I don't think it was ... I don't think that they went home that night and were like, "That was the best night ever." I just ... Yeah. And it's okay. I still enjoyed it. Was happy to pay the money.
Beth Demme (29:24):
Dear Evan Hansen was my favorite.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:26):
Beth Demme (29:27):
There was just really, really, good chemistry between the performers.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:33):
Beth Demme (29:34):
It was really neat. And then I think that my husband and our son who's 20, Book of Mormon was hands-down their favorite. In fact, my husband even was like, "If we can ever see that again, we need to see that again."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:45):
Beth Demme (29:45):
Yeah, he really liked it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:46):
Beth Demme (29:47):
Also, in Book of Mormon, I don't want to talk about it a bunch because I know not everybody has seen it and I know that before I saw it, it annoyed me when people would just talk endlessly about it. But there's a whole song that is basically eff you, God, right?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:00):
Yeah. That's what it's called.
Beth Demme (30:01):
Yeah. And just for a second, I was offended. And then I was like, "No, you know what? That's like a psalm. That's like biblical to be like come on, God. Come on, we need You to be God here." So yeah, I got over myself.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:18):
So you didn't walk out?
Beth Demme (30:18):
No. I got over myself.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:19):
You didn't [crosstalk 00:30:19]. Okay, great.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:22):
So the biggest question is, did you feel safe in New York during COVID and after they had been shut down for so long?
Beth Demme (30:30):
I actually did. And I was a little bit nervous going into it. For whatever reason, I was especially nervous about the subway.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:36):
You should be, yeah.
Beth Demme (30:37):
And I've been in subways in lots of major cities around the world but just lately, there have been some things in the news about the New York City Subway and we just didn't have any trouble. Everything was easy. Everybody was nice.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:50):
That's always been my experience in New York.
Beth Demme (30:51):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:52):
Beth Demme (30:53):
We had great food. We enjoyed the shows. We did a one-day whirlwind tour, see as much as you can.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:03):
On a bus?
Beth Demme (31:04):
On a bus, yeah. One thing that surprised me was how uncomfortable I was at ground zero.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:12):
Was that your first time?
Beth Demme (31:13):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:13):
Oh, I guess it was.
Beth Demme (31:14):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:14):
Yeah. Uncomfortable, interesting. In what sense?
Beth Demme (31:17):
Yeah. Because people were smiling and taking pictures and I'm like, I don't feel like you understand what happened here.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:26):
Beth Demme (31:28):
So that kind of bummed me out.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:31):
Beth Demme (31:32):
And we opted to do the Empire State Building instead of-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:37):
Oh, One World.
Beth Demme (31:38):
... Instead of One World. Maybe when I go again, I'll do One World but-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:42):
It's worth doing once.
Beth Demme (31:43):
Yeah. Part of it was also this is our family trip to New York City and so we have to do all the touristy things. But the Empire State Building experience was so great. We really, really enjoyed that. It was totally worth it. That was another place we ate, actually, was Tacombi which is the Mexican restaurant at the-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:04):
Beth Demme (32:04):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:05):
Nice. Did you do the 9/11 museum?
Beth Demme (32:09):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:09):
Oh, yeah. Next time, save time for that. It's definitely hard but important to see and they've done a really good job with it.
Beth Demme (32:19):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:20):
So would you go back to New York?
Beth Demme (32:21):
Oh, I would. I definitely would.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:22):
For our 200 episodes?
Beth Demme (32:27):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:28):
It's going to be in a couple years. So it's an easy one to commit to.
Beth Demme (32:32):
Yeah. You know me, I always say yes.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:35):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:42):
At the end of each episode, we end with questions for reflection. These are questions based on today's show that Beth will read and leave a little pause between for you to answer to yourself, or you can find a PDF on our Buy Me A Coffee Page.
Beth Demme (32:53):
1. What's the first thing you think of when you hear the word grace?
Beth Demme (32:59):
2. Think of a time when you were shown grace. What did that feel like?
Beth Demme (33:06):
3. How do you show grace to others? Is it intentional?
Beth Demme (33:11):
4. What steps can you take to intentionally practice grace?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:17):
This has been the Discovering Our Scars Podcast. Thank you for joining us.
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Mental Health Advocate. Author. Podcast Host. DIYer. Greyhound Mom.
I'm a mom who laughs a lot, mainly at myself. #UMC Pastor, recent Seminary grad, public speaker, blogger, and sometimes lawyer. Learning to #LiveLoved.