Monday, February 11, 2013
June of 2005, I was asked, along with one of my very best friends, to participate in a choir, of women from Orem, that would perform in the General Relief Society meeting in Salt Lake, that September. I was told there would be a few practices, and that it would be fun. I agreed to participate. After all, how hard could it be? I have always loved music, however, prior to this musical debut, my performances had taken place in the shower and in my van.
The following Sunday was our first rehersal. Our conductor was introduced, the music was presented and then the warm-ups began. I knew, at that moment, I was in B-I-G trouble!! It seemed as though every Opera and Musical Theatre alumni were seated all around me. I silently moved my lips that night, with the intent to withdraw from the experience, as soon as I arrived home. That night, I picked up the phone to tell them to choose someone else for this choir, I was overwhelmed with the feeling that I needed to be there. So, my new attitude and I were off to the next rehersal, the following week. This particular practice was very technical. And, since I did not read music, it might as well have been in Latin. Amidst all the technical and melodic commands, there were a few words I recognized, "strong, weak, strong, weak, strong, weak,"---- and the conductor would motion in and out with her hand, as she repeated those words. She wanted us to sing in a pattern of loud and soft, strong and weak. She said that this would bring the words of the songs to life, and bring feeling to the listeners. Because of my impression of the importance of this experience, I came home, and asked a friend of mine, with musical expertise, to record my parts to all three songs, so that I could listen to them over and over and over again, with the hopes that I would be able to learn the music and memorize the words in time for the performance. I practiced and practiced in the shower and in the van. I learned the words and I learned the music!
Over and over again, week after week, we would sing the words to these three inspired pieces of music. "Now let us rejoice!" "How Firm a Foundation." And, "When I Feel His Love"----strong, weak, strong, weak, strong, weak! You could feel the words penetrate the hearts of those in the conference center, that night, as the "strong" and the "weak" joined their voices, their talents, their hearts and their testimonies, creating a powerful experience for both performer and listener. That night, I was one of the "weak", uneducated, unexperienced, and under-talented. However, I was surrounded by the "strong"-- and the "strong" carried me through. I realized that sometimes I am "weak" and it's ok to rely on the strength of others.
I look back on this experience with wonder and awe! Here I was, no musical talent, in a ward loaded with ability and expertise in this area, yet it was I, who was chosen to participate in such an experience tailored just for me. I needed to learn and memorize the words to those songs, so that 5 years later, when my husband left, I could be comforted by the words I had memorized, "Fear not, I am with thee, oh be not dismayed!" I needed to know, that during the "weak" times in my life, I would be surrounded by the "strong". And, during one of those empty, lonely nights, I promised, that I would work hard, so that someday, I could be "strong," and use my time, talents, strengths and resources to help others who may feel "weak, " as their Families Change! Life doesn't get any easier--we just get stronger. And, as families change, so do we. And if we stay strong, other's will wonder how we are still smiling and they will want to be strong, too!!