Recently, I did something totally out of the box. I signed up for auditions to a relatively famous choir. The notable part is that I actually showed up for my first ever audition! Such ambition, I know. I almost chickened out, but fought against it.
It started with me working hard (naks) on a typical weekday, with most of my officemates out on mission work. I was left to man the office, and I used the time to finish my documentation and paperwork backlog. It was interesting enough, but also threatened to bore me to death. A virus also hit our network (Brontok! It’s like a curse!) and for two straight days I naively tried to use Norton Antivirus to wash it away. I learned later on that several of the QT’s had the Brontok washer, for it hit most of our computers and flash drives during the RLTC. With the washer, it only took a little while to wipe away that pervasive and tenacious virus.
So desperate was I for some fresh air, having been stuck in the office reminding myself that I was doing everything for the love of the Lord, when my cellphone beeped. One of my friends informed me of said tryouts to this particular music ministry, and I replied with “Hmmm… hmmm.” She urged me to “Goooo!” as I had nothing to lose, anyway.
So amidst the busyness of the day I searched my heart. Of course I had dreamed of doing something like this. I never thought they held open auditions, and it seemed like a good opportunity. I wasn’t too attached to the results, and I saw it as a good sign. I then managed to send an email to the tryouts coordinator to indicate my interest. The next day, I received a reply giving me the time slot for my audition – which was two days away, and instructing me to prepare two songs.
I had very little time to prepare, true, but the good news is that I had little time to panic, also. Hence I tried to take it slow and one step at a time. I downloaded the application form and filled it out. A grin began to form on my face as I answered the questions “What is your background in music?”; “What musical instruments can you play? Rate yourself.”; etc. It was fun to reminisce about playing the piano and recording for the Lingkod anniversary CD. My confidence grew a bit; at least my answer to both was not “None”.
Next I had to face the arduous task of picking two songs within my voice range, to which I was very familiar with, and the lyrics of which I could remember. I chose two of my favorite songs and practiced while I could, in the office, in the car, and in my bedroom. It was great fun to practice, for I discovered a lot, my limitations, mostly. I sent a text message to my sister in Sydney asking her what to do with my “pesteng ahem” – or permanently itchy throat. She suggested lozenges and gave me other tips. She’s the real singer in the family, so I valued her advice.
The friend who encouraged me to go to my auditions suggested that I don’t tell a lot of people about it, so that I wouldn’t be so pressured. I agreed. I ended up asking prayers from about less than 12 people, I think, which was a record for me. Haha. I knew people who knew people from the choir and they just said that I should sing about God’s love story written in my heart, and all shall be well.
The day came. None of my friends could accompany me to the actual auditions, so I came alone, five minutes before my time slot. Scenes from “Flashdance”, “Centerstage” and “Fame” flashed through my mind. I was ushered to the waiting area together with the other nervous hopefuls. I strained my ear to hear how other auditionees were doing each time the door was opened. It was 9 in the morning and not the usual time for me to hit high notes, and I was dying to get it over and done with. I stared at a clump of trees outside the window and prayed for peace, offering whatever voice I had to God, for Him to deal with as He pleases.
The auditions were held inside a studio, and there was a panel of judges, I mean, choir members. I felt like I was on Philippine Idol. I had a cough (which was common for singers, the musical director said), and had less than eight hours of sleep, which a friend said was a necessity for optimum vocal performance, and worst of all, my heart was beating out of my chest. For my first song, I forgot the lyrics to the second stanza, paused to remember it, and then the keyboardist totally forgot how to play the last part – with the bridge and my other favorite parts. We moved to my second song, which wasn’t what I practiced but which was what I wanted to sing to God at that time. I closed my eyes and sang “Something More”. My head was aching, my throat was itching, my heart was palpitating, and my voice was shaking, but I finished the song. I didn’t sound like me at all, because I couldn’t control my voice! It did not cooperate, so affected was it by my beating heart.
My friend Therese met up with me after the auditions and we had brunch. I veered away from doing a post mortem of my performance, and this surprised even me because I usually am a perfectionist. I had to drink my migraine medicine though because my head felt like it was splitting into two. I thanked my intercessors and went on with my life, trying not to think about the results and being reminded of them only when people asked me about it.
A couple of days ago, I heard from the coordinator of the choir through email that they were heartened by my interest in joining their ministry but I did not make it. Oh. Okay. I expected as much, but it was different to see it in black and white. It was so final. God’s “No”. And I told myself to stop escaping, because the reality I was in was the reality that God had already prepared for me.
I’m currently reading a book entitled “How to Reach Your Life Goals” by Peter J Daniels, an assignment from my career co-discerner Fr. Geoffrey. It offers practical tips on how to identify my goals and to reach for them, as a Christian should. I hope to come full circle on the topic of dreams/goals. I grew up aiming for the best, failing and falling but getting up again to give and achieve more. Then I had The Failure – my first bar – which was my ultimate breaking and God’s greatest act of mercy, to transform my proud nature into a humble servant. Now I don’t know my dreams, or perhaps I do but I refuse to face them, so scared am I of returning into the selfish, proud me that used to roam the earth (and okay still sometimes takes over this body).
I’m rediscovering, however, that the desires that God planted in our hearts are the ones that would bring us closer to Him. It’s ok to dream pala. But I have to re-discover how. There is a process to this, and I’m undergoing it, while recognizing the beauty and value of my current post as a volunteer mission worker for Ang Lingkod ng Panginoon, something that I really love doing but is also bringing out many struggles from within and without. Maybe when I figure out how to properly do so, I could write more about this. I could stay longer, or I could leave. Either way, I am assured that God would show the path leading me to my life goals that in turn would lead me to His love through service to my fellowmen. No matter what people say.
It sounds grand, but then, dreams tend to be that way.