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.