I sort of had a rough childhood. I mark it as before my mother's death and after my mother's death. There is a marked difference between each era. I'm such a dreamer and I learned to dream vividly. I wanted to be a singer. I dreamed of being famous and singing everywhere. I needed such validation. I had this friend from high school. Her name is Abby. I lost track of her. She would tell me that I was obsessed, and I was. When "Mr. Jones" would come on the radio by the Counting Crows, she would tell me that this song was about me.
I would write songs and poems constantly. I would keep a diary with my future audience in mind. I believed that it would chronicle my rise to stardom. I was the next Debbie Gibson or Mariah Carey. I didn't give up this dream easily. Instead of studying I would write lyrics. I would think up melodies. I'm not even that good of a singer. I would use the pain of losing my mother to write. It was so much easier to write when I was in misery and pain. I would abandon my thoughts and my angst when I was happy, or when I was in love. When I was happy, I would miss my creative outlet. I would miss all of the thoughts and words that would come from the dark places. I was a fickle, happy girl with a sadness in the frenzy I would create. It was better living my my dreams and my future than actually feeling the immense loss of losing my mother. I leaned on God and hoped for a good future.
When I met my husband, the first day, I went with him to a rap battle. He was a rapper. I sang for him on some of his tracks. I waited to tell him that I sang. He found out soon enough. I would sing for my college and he would be in the front row listening. Singing was my ace in the hole. You could look down on me but I had a talent. I could sing. I would audition for shows, movies and musicals. I met my friend, Haja while waiting to audition for Rent. When "American Idol" came out, I was one year too old to audition. It broke my heart. I would pray for stardom the way that you would pray for food, air, or water. It was an idol.
One day I woke up and I heard it very clearly. "I never meant for you to be a singer." I remember going to Santi and telling him. He had given up on his rap dream before I gave up on my dream of singing. When I told him he nodded. The dream was over. A peace came to me. I thought it would depress me but it didn't. I prayed for purpose. I wanted to do anything but be a teacher. I'm laughing now. All of the career assessments, all of the suggestions; all of it pointed to teaching. I didn't want to hear it. I was like the Israelites in the desert. I was Jonah in the belly of the whale. I fell into teaching, kicking and screaming.
These days, every now and again, I will sing at church. I'm glad that they let me. I get to sing. You have no idea the mercy that this is. On Sundays, I go to church and I get to sing to a celestial audience. I imagine my voice sounding off key like the voice of a child to God. Every now and again, I cry. There is no better feeling than leaving it all at the feet of Jesus, right?
These days, I do hear something. I hear, "Write." I thought there was something wrong when all of the words first came. Now I just think about all the words that I have before me. I will write. This time, I am not running away from the pain of loss. I allow myself to feel it. I allow the emotions to wash over me like a river. I ask myself questions. In this stillness, I feel too much. The silence can be too loud. So, then I find the songs and I sing. I sing in the pain. and then every now and again I write. I'm not trying to have any idols to escape anything. Instead I am trusting God.
Singing at Church