The beauty of effort (What a grand title?! Right? Lofty aspirations)

I was part of something amazing and beautiful and moving today.  I couldn’t help but smile through it all, even the difficult parts.  It was so beautiful I cried a little bit.  My daughter liked it, even though some parts were “a little weird”.  My husband enjoyed it.  Everyone who participated was moved in some way, I think.

I am honored to be part of a semi-professional choir called Choral Arts of Chattanooga.  They are all amazing.  I feel like the weakest link, just stumbling behind, trying really hard to sing at their level.  Today we performed the Missa Gaia by Paul Winter — with additional music by Paul Halley, under the direction of our wonderful director, Keith Reas.  (Sadly, this was our last concert under his direction, as he is leaving to devote more time to his other musical talents.  He is a wonderful person and I have so enjoyed his musical direction and selection, even if they are sometimes… unusual.)

Today we performed the Earth Mass.  It included recordings of wolves, whales, harp seals, and birds.  (I know what you’re thinking, but this was really well done and not corny in the least.)  Jazz pianist and professor, Dave Walters, played with us.  We had incredible percussion and soprano sax.  As usual, David Friberg accompanied us on the organ.  I was surrounded by beautiful voices and was able to stand next to a (super fun) second soprano whose voice blended really well with mine.  Each member of the choir sang the notes we had learned individually — and together we created such beautiful and incredible music.  I am always amazed at how I feel up on stage, singing, sharing emotions and music at the same time.  It is obviously indescribable.

Things that I love and that bring joy and a sense of wonder have some things in common for me. (I noticed this today during an epiphany/performance high.)

They are individual accomplishments and group efforts at the same time.  They involve a sense of stepping outside my comfort zone (I also like to call it my tiny little safety bubble.)  They require a lot of hard work and time and effort and showing up when I don’t really feel like it.

You might have noticed that I like to sing.  I also love the feeling of successfully treating a patient with surgery or medicine.  I love seeing my daughter say or do something that makes her happy or proud.  And there are few feelings like that of crossing a finish line.

Some of these come naturally, some don’t.  But it doesn’t mean that some are harder than others.  Achieving a goal is just hard.  That’s why it means something.

Some of the music I have learned is hard.  It is really challenging.  But beautiful.

Some cases require a lot of work and second-guessing and waking up worried in the middle of the night and research and communication.  But they are rewarding and help me learn.

Being a good example for my daughter and having to tell her no or see her cry sometimes is really hard and often heartbreaking.  But it is worth it to see her grow as a little human being.

Training for an Ironman (and finally finishing one) is going to be tough.  Some days I will smile all the way through training, and some days I will cry.  Some days I will cry a lot. Those days are not pretty.  But I will show up and I will put in the effort.

Because I am finally learning from all the beautiful things I have experienced!  (And I will probably have to learn it again and again.  I’m slow like that.)  I’ve learned that in the end, it’s worth all the difficulty just to be a part of those precious moments when my heart completely overflows.

(You think a runner’s high is great?!  You should try a performance high.  Nothing.  Like.  It.)


4 thoughts on “The beauty of effort (What a grand title?! Right? Lofty aspirations)

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