Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Solo

Imagine you are thirteen. Lyme spirochetes have invaded your spine and you are living each day with severe pain. They've also invaded your brain making it difficult to remember. You're wrestling with horrible headaches. The new medications are working, but your body is experiencing deep fatigue as it works to handle the infection and dying bacteria. You are herxing, causing symptoms to flare. You want to stay in bed.

But remember! You are thirteen. You're in the eighth grade. Singing, dancing, band, musicals, family, friends, school and teachers are your loves. They're the reason you pull yourself from bed each day, even the days that are the hardest you've yet to face. And then, of course there's the solo.

A solo in a band that has received straight ones for the past thirty-five years. Festival is fast approaching and your solo continues to be a challenge. You play the oboe. You're wrestling with reeds. Your best one gives out one day in rehearsal, right in the middle of your solo, shaking your confidence. Your parents send for more, but they're held up in a snowstorm for several days. They arrive just before the pre-festival concert. The bands combine and you're now playing with even more peers. Stress builds even more. We all know how stress affects Lyme. It becomes even harder for you to function. Your mother is questioning her own decision years ago, to encourage you to play the oboe.

You are strong. You don't give up. Your directors continue to inspire and help you. A dear friend comes over before school for more lessons. A wise director tells you the band's rating will not be affected by your solo. The new medication starts working its magic. The cranial-sacral massages are lifting you out of the pain cycle you are in. You play well at the pre-festival concert in front of the parents and your confidence grows. For the next two weeks, you continue to work. You add vibrato and on the day of the concert, the notes bring tears to the eyes of those who love you as they think of all you've accomplished. What you've overcome.

Then the judge steps in front of the audience to talk with your band. He asks you all to look at measure 19 in the second piece. "Where is the oboe player?" he asks.

Hearts skip a beat. You raise your hand. He asks the others to musically step out of your way. He wants your notes to carry through the auditorium, at the same time reassuring you that he could hear you the first time. He wants the piece to be even more beautiful. You play it through again.

Today you learned the joy that can be gained when you face your demons. By daring to dream, you had the courage to soar. You are such an inspiration!!!