Friday, October 10, 2014

Daily Mundane #9 - Looking Through My Eyes

Today was midterms for my students.
A classical piece was selected for them to learn and work at perfecting in four weeks time.
For those of you who have musical training or are singers, you know perfection never comes, much less in four weeks.  It is a mere blink in time.
Still, we have to have benchmarks to gauge progress, work ethic, vocal technique, subtext and a whole other host of subtle changes.
So...classical music it is!

As we embarked on the midterm process, I remembered the feeling of vulnerability so well.
The quickening heart rate, dry mouth, and nausea that used to overtake me.
I've always hated taking tests.
I'm not successful at it.
Even when I aced one, I was left feeling exhausted from the stress I would put on myself.
This is one of the reasons I stopped auditioning.
Some people thrive on this kind of pressure.
It could have destroyed me.

So, as we began filling out forms and reviewing processes before the moment arrived, I made sure to leave them with a different kind of philosophy as they left the room to wait their turn.
Each week I give the students a new thought, quote, card...something tangible to embrace 
that has seemingly nothing to do with music, yet is truly more important and inevitably intertwined with creating music through their character.
I generally leave them with the chosen thought at the end of the class, but yesterday, I read to them before they took the test.
The quotes were on confidence and determination.

"It's so important to believe in yourself. Believe that you can do it, under any circumstances.  Because if you believe you can, then you really will.  That belief just keeps you searching for the answers, and then pretty soon you get it." - Wally "Famous" Amos 

"To be happy, drop the words if only and substitute instead the words next time." - Smiley Blanton  
(My emphasis added to both)

I was gratified to see the light of realization dawn on them as I finished the words.
To see them consider, "Ok, so instead of finishing my midterm thinking if only I had breathed correctly...if only I hadn't messed up that phrase...if only I had synced up more deeply with my subtext" and replace it with, "Well, that was as masterfully as I could have performed today.  So next time, I'll know to work on..." was amazing.
(Because let's face it, when you're heading into a test, you're as prepared as you're going to use - really - in having a nervous breakdown! You can't change the past.)

It made my heart so peaceful.
Moreso, it made me wish each of them could experience looking at themselves through my eyes.
The eyes of a woman who has lived through the fear of imperfection and rejection.
The eyes of a woman who has not done for dread of not doing well, missing opportunity after opportunity.
The eyes of a woman who measured her worth for years against what she was accomplishing rather what she was becoming....what she was failing to do rather than what she was learning.
The eyes of a woman who would love to travel back and do so much of life differently, couched in the knowledge that she was a child of a God who loves and accepts and encourages.

Ah, yes, I would do differently...and yet...

If I had done it all differently, I would not have these insights to share with a group of young women who are beginning to develop their worth, skills, and approach to a "successful" life.
And how could I not be "lie on the floor, splayed out in total tender thanks and obedience grateful" for being provided the opportunity to encourage...
Lift up...
Share grace.

Turns out, I can't have any regrets.
Because the eyes of this woman have been opened by all of her experiences, both bad and good...joyful and heartbreaking.
And looking through my eyes at these precious women of God, I know I was put here for a reason.

{A bit late submitting today.  
Whew, that 13 hour day yesterday was a doozy!  
Praying you are "looking at" and "looked at" 
through the eyes of grace today.  
Thanks for reading.}

1 comment:

  1. This is so beautiful and I know that made such a difference for your students. I wish that the professors at my "Christian" university had had the same sort of attitude. To be sure, there were a few who did. I remember my chorale director and choral conducting professor was one of those who both a great love for teaching but also a great love for God which bled over into how he taught us and caused me to have greater success in his classes. He's also the only professor from college that I still really have much contact with (or respect for) today. God bless you and the work you do!