Friday, February 28, 2014

A Postscript

A few weeks ago the orchestra I play in featured three high school students, winners of their local concerto competition, in performance. Each played a movement of a concerto with the orchestra, and it was wonderful to witness. They were young and tender and courageous and beautiful.

I could see each of them well from my spot in the violin section. And I knew to look at their hands. All three had marvelous stage presence, all three looked calm and confident, all three played beautifully. But I’ve been in their shoes and I remember all too well the terrified-excited-thisisnotmybody feeling I had. I saw the trembling hands that accompanied all their grace and composure. And I wondered how many people in the audience had any idea what kind of struggle was playing out in front of them.

That was the beginning of the poem I posted Wednesday. I wrote it as a witness.

It is not a story, but rather a list of glimpses into many stories. A series of pictures.

Then again, maybe it is one story told many ways, many times. Because we don’t always know which acts are the most courageous, or the most difficult. Because I’m floored sometimes by how much of what we do that is not only because of, but in spite of. In the face of.  I’ve seen a lot of it recently. And I want to bear witness to those beautiful acts.

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  1. I loved the poem. I've been thinking about bravery a lot lately because I've been talking to the kids about it. About how it does mean "in the face of" the fear, not because you've conquered the fear. And how the bravery is the act that actually conquers the fear. And how, unfortunately, conquered fear doesn't always feel much better than unconquered fear.

    So all this has been just reminding me that bravery is not an emotion, but a response that we have. And that makes me feel better. It is so good to know that I can be brave, even though - no, BECAUSE am afraid.

    Anyway, lovely, lovely thoughts coming out of your blog lately and they've been sticking with me. So thank you!

    1. "Conquered fear doesn't always feel much better than unconquered fear." I'm thinking about all the times I've faced my fears and walked away shaking. Usually shaking more than before the facing. I know this is the affects of adrenaline, but still. That bravery is not an emotion is something I have to keep reminding myself, too--it is still something I long to feel.


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