It’s Spring at last and despite the many sad and unsettling events of the past few weeks, it’s been a time where I have noticed the extra kindness that is all around me. Rather than dwell on some of the sad times or rant about the decisions being made about the future, I have tried hard to concentrate on the here and now. Work on the things that I can change and put energy into those around me where I can truly make a difference. My friends, my family, my community. Does that make me irresponsible or childish? I don’t think so, but others would perhaps suggest otherwise. If I can do my bit to make the world and people around me a feel a bit brighter and happier, even for just a few hours, then that feels like the best way forward. Of course I feel sad and scared at times and have stood by and witnessed some terribly shocking and unbearable moments of pain and torment recently. Some of the events that have occurred have been a terrible shock to those closest to me. All I can do is offer them my love and support. That’s all that’s wanted sometimes. No solution, just time to heal and to feel heard.
I may not be a Saint (despite the photo) and my halo is certainly worn at a jaunty angle and I’ve a devil of a temper (especially when hungry.) But I’m fit, I’m well, I’m loved, I’m lucky enough to be working in an area I love with my choirs. I’ve had some pretty bleak times in my life in the past, but have managed to Spring back, despite it feeling impossible at times. Darkness turns to light, Winter turns to Spring, the sun rises every day and there IS always something to be grateful for and somebody who cares. A very wise Mother once said to me ‘if you have your health you have EVERYTHING’. How true! But how sad that hers was taken away too early. My Mum died at the end of a rotten Winter in 2007 and left behind a huge loss in her community and huge void in my own life. Many of my choir members know that the choirs were set up in her memory in 2008 and since that time, I have met some extraordinary people who amaze and inspire me. Her death brought about a new gift of life for me which I want to give to help others.
On 1st April 2017 (yesterday), I was showered with love and happiness. April Showers indeed of the best kind. Each Spring, I arrange an end of term concert and party for my choirs and their families and friends. This years was truly memorable. I noticed all the joy and happiness around me which was shared by so many.
At the event I spent time with 4 year olds who reminded me that sharing fruit, dressing up and skipping around are VERY important. I’ve watched young boys with heads fully immersed in “beano” magazines reading in a row. Chatted with teenage boys who weren’t ‘too cool for school’ and who were able to have a fabulous time without the need for a gadget in hand.
I noticed the lovely young woman (who just happens to be my daughter) surprise an older wiser woman by presenting her with some handmaid jewellery of treasured memories. I witnessed people dancing side by side, 82 year old alongside 15 year olds. People holding hands and smiling. Friends and strangers looking after one another. Serving food, washing up, hoovering and shifting furniture. Teamwork at is’s best and love amongst friends, families and communities. I shall never forget the feeling of pure joy yesterday.
April Foolish???? No, not at all. It was real, it was there for all to see. No fame, no glitter, no gold, just pure happiness and joy. Spring has certainly Sprung with memories to treasure forever. The dark days are gone and I’d rather choose the sunny side of the street and leave my worries on the doormat. Life is very short and time is very precious. Choices of how and with whom to spend that time can make a big difference everyday.
My work as a choir leader in the community is so similar to my time working in the airline industry which taught me so much. Communication, teamwork, leadership, understanding how to help people (with and without baggage), making things comfortable, fighting fires, putting people at ease, thinking on my feet and being ready for that ‘brace brace’ moment if the performance starts to look like it might just be crashing! My job as a choir leader is literally like ‘flying without wings’. The Captain (me), the co pilot (my accompanist), and the crew (the choir) making sure the passengers (the audience) have a memorable journey (performance).
I leave you with the words of Stephen Sondheim “If I cannot fly, let me sing”. With a Spring in my step, lots of love in my heart and a song on my lips, thank you for reading my blog. There’s always a warm welcome aboard at the Singing it back rehearsal rooms. The people are lovely, the smiles are real, the entertainment often works and there’s barely any jet lag!
I look forward to catching up with you in May.