"I didn't take the moment."
Those were the words that I uttered to my Dad's picture when I pulled it out of my Bible this morning. I usually whisper a sweet, "Good morning, Daddy," but this time I knew I needed to say more. "I'm sorry I forgot to ask for help. I'm sorry I didn't take the moment."
I started a new job recently. A blessing to be sure. I was invited to become a Master Teaching Artist at Disneyland Resorts on a new music program they are premiering for middle and high school students. We trained for two days a few weeks ago, and then observed as the trainer taught the program to a pilot group of students. After, the team took all of our feedback and decided that they needed to rework it a bit. (I'm saying "rework" loosely here as they really came up with an almost entirely new program.) Off the four of us teaching artists went to our regular lives, waiting to hear back. We received an outline from the production manager last week and were asked back Tuesday to train in the new program.
We had three hours.
Three hours until the first of our Master Teaching Artist team had to teach it.
Minimal (or no) notes.
Full tech with prompts.
I prayed hard for my friend, Scott.
(For the record, he was BRILLIANT, setting the bar overwhelmingly high!)
For our teaching team of four, local student groups were selected to learn the program as a "pilot." One teacher taught on Monday; two on Tuesday; one on Wednesday. We were able to get our feet wet, experiment with the timing, our words, our methods, the activities. We watched each other, giving and taking ideas. The program is 90 minutes.
That's a long time to feel uncertain.
In years past, I would have anxiety to the point of throwing up EVERY TIME before a new project, a new group of students. I would spend the entire day prior in the bathroom.
Yet, yesterday, as I prepared for my 2:30PM call time, I relied on Him.
I prayed, truly, most of the morning.
I prayed that God would be with me, steadying my nerves.
I prayed that the Holy Spirit would give me the right words, filling me with His joy to share through the music and my teaching.
By the time, I arrived at Disney, I was actually excited for the prospect of teaching something new.
There was another teaching artist I was to observe before I began at 6:00PM. As his 90 minutes of impeccably timed class wore on, I became increasingly alarmed. "He's breezing over some of these points, just touching on them...and it's working," I thought. "Maybe I should change my strategy." All of the work I did with God in the hours before became an object of doubt.
The 3:30PM class started late due to technical set-up delays, and then we had show notes with the director. When all was said and done, I had 15 minutes to gulp down an apple and a protein bar, brush my teeth, put on some lipstick, and re-set the room before my 40 middle school jazz orchestra students walked in. (Yes, I said said 40 middle schoolers...talk about "out of the frying pan and into the fire.")
My excitement was replaced with anxiety.
My joy replaced with doubt.
The 90 minutes went by relatively quickly.
The show director congratulated me at the end.
She told me all of the things I did well - what worked and what she liked.
She gave me a few things to remember and work on.
Through all of it, I thanked her, but I was deflated.
I knew it wasn't a "win."
I knew it wasn't special.
I knew I was going through the motions of being enthusiastic, all the while secretly cursing the fact that my timing was off.
My colleagues seemed puzzled by my frustration and reassured me that, despite the timing not being what I wanted, "No one knew. The kids had a great time. You were amazing. You should be so proud!"
They didn't know what I knew.
How could I tell them?
I was disappointed because, in those moments of rush and confusion and slight panic before the students walked in,
I didn't pray.
I didn't ask for guidance.
It was so simple and I missed it.
I didn't take the moment.