And then I saw this on Instagram yesterday…
I don't know why I'm always surprised when those repetitions happen in my life. They happen all the time. I should be used to them by now. That's how Heavenly Father gets my attention, by putting things in my line of sight multiple times so that I cannot possibly ignore them. I love this one. Seeing it twice in just the past few weeks has made me more aware of the passions in my life.
Do you know what I'm passionate about? Music. I love it. I have always loved listening to it. I don't have a favorite genre or style. I just like anything that reaches me. You know, the kind that makes you stop and listen, that makes you remember something, or that inspires you to do something. Sometimes it's the lyrics. Sometimes it's the voice. Sometimes it's the instrument. I hear music everywhere. Even when it's completely silent, there's always a song in my head. Always. (Right now, it's that "Say Something I'm Giving Up on You." Oh, I love that song.)
But as much as I love listening to music, that's not the real passion for me. My passion is making music. I love to play the piano and I love to sing.
When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a singer. Specifically, Marie Osmond or Karen Carpenter. I sang at the top of my lungs, all by myself in my room with the door closed. In a family where musical talent was abundant and effortless, you would have thought that any natural talent I had would have thrived, but I didn't let it. I was intimidated by my parents' beautiful voices and in awe at the way extended family members could come over and pick up ukuleles and guitars and burst into song. Everyone in my family sang. Even my sweet, humble, inauspicious 80 year old grandmother, had the most beautiful alto voice I've ever heard. And when the mood struck her, she added harmony and layers to the music that stunned us all. There was always singing at my house, but I rarely, if ever, participated in it. I loved sitting in the middle of it, but never could bring myself to contribute. Somehow, I talked myself into thinking that I wasn't in the same league as all those great singers in my family, so I never tried singing with them. Somehow, I convinced myself that the risk was too great. What if I was terrible? Then what?
My current family sings as naturally and beautifully as the family I grew up in. In fact, Craig and I met in our high school choir and I was instantly drawn to his deep, bass voice. But even as the matriarch of this family, and even though I know that I must be at least partially responsible for their musical talent, I still have a hard time mustering up enough confidence to sing so that I can be heard. I'm much happier tucked safely into a small group, or better yet, a massive choir, like DMCO. As long as I'm not the only one singing a part and my voice is never completely identifiable, I'll sing until the cows come home.
Someone told me years ago that I needed to stop worrying about what other people think and just sing. (OK, a few million people may have told me that same thing.) I know that my greatest challenge with this particular talent I've been blessed with is having the confidence to use it.
This passion isn't random. It's been around my entire life. And it isn't without purpose. I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to do something with it. And I'm pretty sure that if I've been given the passion, I've also been given the ability.
DMCO started again last night. The music is more challenging this time. There are more choir members. The directors have higher expectations. And yet, I can sit through a two hour intense rehearsal of mostly sight reading, and not even notice that the time has gone by. I could have stayed for another two hours last night. I am invigorated and energized in the time I spend there. I leave those rehearsals wanting to turn the music up in the car and sing all the way home.
After two-hour rehearsals week after week for months, and then signing up to do it all over again, I have more confidence in my talent. My sight reading is better. My range has increased. And my voice is just a little bit better than it was before. That happens when you practice a thing, or exercise a body part, or use a talent…things magnify and you can't help but be better at them. I still don't know what I'm supposed to do with this passion. Maybe DMCO is it. I most certainly love it there, and I love being numbered among that giant group of musicians who can move heaven and earth with it's amazing sound. Maybe a solo career like Marie Osmond's isn't in my future, but just being an integral part of a really great choir? Maybe I'm just supposed to have enough confidence to sing so that my kids remember hearing my voice? Whatever it is, I'm grateful for yet another opportunity to take a few more steps toward this passion and magnify this talent.
Listen to this incredible arrangement of How Great Thou Art that we're singing this season…it's in the background until the end, but what the directors are saying is pretty amazing, too.