Sunday, October 18, 2009
Shell Seekers and Those Who Encourage Seeking
I woke this morning in disbelief that it was October 18, 2009! I am not sure where the month has gone. Actually, I am still wondering where September went. I get like this sometimes where my body and mind refuse to accept the passing of time. It usually happens this time of year as the cold creeps upon us and my inner clock just simply refuses. After this cold weekend in New York City my body is screaming, “Let it still be summer!”
Last weekend ended all too soon. The Elixir of Love with the Atlanta Opera closed last Sunday and Monday morning at 5:45 a.m., I was on my way to the Atlanta airport to take a flight to New York. I really just wanted a few days to let the fabulous weekend pour over me. It was truly a wonderful weekend. After Friday’s performance the Mercer University Alumni Association in conjunction with the Townsend School of Music, gave a reception in my honor. I must say that I was completely overwhelmed with this gesture. Honestly, I kind of felt how President Obama must have felt when he received the Nobel Peace Prize. I was very excited and honored, but at the same time I wanted to shout, “Just wait though, my best is yet to come, I promise!” I really feel that way. Even though I know that I have accomplished a lot in a very short time, I have huge ambitions for my future and I certainly don’t want anyone to get the idea that this is all there is! But seriously, I did appreciate being recognized. It was sheer joy to see all of my former professors and to meet the new ones who have joined the faculty. I met alumni who were there to support the School of Music and saw a lot of old friends. It is an indescribable feeling when you realize that you have an enormous support group. I had so many emotions Friday night. It is easy to be distracted by the pressures of performing and the negative reactions some might have towards your performance. It is so easy to forget that although there may be a few who criticize and want to wear you down, that there is a much larger group that wants nothing more than for you to succeed. Friday night was a fabulous party at my favorite Wine Bar in Atlanta with my cheering squad. These were the people who helped me get started, who saw something in me and encouraged me, who saw I wanted to know music so badly and paid for those piano and voice lessons (THANK YOU MAMA and DADDY!) and I wouldn’t be where I am today without any of them. It is just that plain and simple. (Some were missing, like Mrs. Betty Campbell from Lincolnton who left us too soon, but her spirit is with me always.) It was thrilling to have so many special people all together in one room. I’ll always cherish that night and even though it was fast and I didn’t get to spend tons of quality time with everyone, I hope that they will know how much they mean to me and how supported and loved I feel from having that wonderful evening.
Sunday was the matinee performance and I had more family and friends attend. I was especially happy that my nieces and my cousins little girls were able to come. These girls are my shell seekers. We were at the beach not too long ago and all these girls walked with me along the beach and we found some of the most gorgeous shells. We must have had four gallons by the time we left the beach. I was so intrigued by the way the girls selected their shells. They weren’t always looking for the most perfect. Of course, it was really special to find that perfect conch shell, but I loved that they were happiest just walking along and searching. I also really loved watching how different they each were with their selections. It was a lesson that taught me that beauty and preference is different for each who seeks it. So, my shell seekers came to the opera and I hope that they will remember as they get older how important it is to seek your dreams.
Monday morning I flew to New York on the worst flight I have ever had. I won’t go into details, but at one point I found myself arm and arm with the woman next to me. A lot of things were going through my head that morning and the most wonderful part was that I concluded that it would be the best time as any to fall out of the sky because I had just had the most incredible, loving weekend imaginable. I had seen most, not all, of my loved ones, visited with lots of people I always cared for and appreciated, sang some great music, drank fabulous wine with my friends, kissed my husband before I left the airport, and was happy. I realized when I landed that I loved my life beyond words and am so thankful for all the people who have come in and out of my life and for all the wonderful opportunities I have to sing and contribute to some sort of beauty in this sometimes chaotic world.