When I was a teenager, all I ever wanted was to sing. I wasn’t the best singer but I had hopes. I remember singing into my hairbrush in the morning before the mirror while getting ready for school, playing my favorite records and jamming along and dreaming of being a famous.
I took band and choir in high school. I thought that when I graduated I would go into communications, because I doubted I’d ever be a “real” singer but I loved to talk and I loved music so voila! DJ it was.
My dad told me DJ’s worked crappy hours and didn’t paid much. So after three years part time to get my associate’s degree, I finally settled on Psychology as I was interested in helping people. I graduated and went for my master’s degree.
Fast forward to graduating and working in a church. I didn’t do counseling right away but during grad school I was working in production, planning our Sunday morning services and our worship services. And I got to sing. My boss and pastor did informe me I was only a “B-team” singer. He was right. I wasn’t committed to working as hard on that as what excellence would require. After a while some friends and I formed a band, Jonah’s Vacation. I was the lead singer. A dream come true. Lots of practice and hard work, very little money being a local Christian cover band.
Well, there I am, with the guys! It’s like it was another lifetime. I loved these brothers in Christ and the creative synergy that occurred when we were together. (RIP Jim Kube)
Eventually between work and having a kid, life got busier and I left the band. I loved those guys and we had a blast and another, much better singer had joined us so they were in good hands.
I ended up working in the field of mental health for years but still sang on worship teams at church and loved that. Then we moved and singing kind of fell to the back burner. Eventually, I would get to sing but for some reason I was asked more to play my guitar, a skill I was mediocre at, and that’s being generous. When a new worship director came to church, I eventually got back into production, working in the booth overseeing everything on the stage and behind the scenes. I was really good at it and enjoyed it.
What I really wanted though was to be on stage. I was needed more in the booth. The worst part of that was, week after week, rehearsals and Sunday, I had to listen to everything. I could not sing or be distracted from my task.
The last time I sang on stage was Good Friday in 2018. I was also playing my guitar and had practiced over and over and over for weeks. During the actual service, I started playing the guitar fine but my mind froze and I couldn’t find my note to start the vocals. The pastor rescued me in that moment and everything went off fine. Except I felt humilitated. Stage fright?
I haven’t sung on stage since.
I met my husband that year and we attend worship together. Now I can at least sing. I’ve had people ask my why I’m not on stage (the few that remember that I have done that). I just can’t bring myself to do it. At least not yet.
Last night I was reminded how much I sacrificed and lost with that dream. I used to sing to my kids all the time, sing in the car, sing around the house but years of silence in the production booth left me almost mute when it comes to singing.
My husband loves to hear me sing. I get self-conscious about it. Am I supporting my voice enough? I can’t remember all the words. I’m out of practice to be sure, so my range isn’t what it could be or used to be.
I want to start playing guitar again and maybe singing along with that. I want to challenge myself to sing more, to find that voice again, and the joy that goes with it. I do sing for my husband sometimes and he loves to hear me during worship. If God and Ben are the only two people to hear my voice, I’m fine with that. Still, it saddens me that even then I don’t sing as much as I used to.
So for me it is singing and what I didn’t cover was a lot of trauma that also accompanied my journey along the way. Some in ministry, some on the home front. That’s behind me now. But it made me wonder, have others found that during the course of life and work and ministry, they left something they loved behind?
If so, what was it and why did it get left behind in the dust of life? Have you pursued finding it again?
I recorded this five years go on YouTube, before I met my husband, had rotator cuff surgery, remodeled a house, married and moved, setting my guitar aside for a long time. I did get to sing this song to my grandmother before she passed away in 2017 so that makes it extra special to me. Thanks to my guitar instructor at the time, Mike Bautz, who helped me get the chords right for this song.
As another Jonah’s Vacation-ite, I remember Susan’s dedication and wonderful voice. It was a time of challenge, learning, dedication, and trusting God. I believe lives were touched because of our ministry.
Susan brings up a good point though. We feel uncomfortable about things we should be casual about. What will others think if they hear/see me do what I want to do? We should never feel this way when it comes to praising and worshiping our Creator. Not a good singer but have a song in your heart? Sing away. God is blessed. Want to raise your hands to heaven in praise to God but no one else does that in church? Praise God with your hands held high. God is blessed.
Of course, it may be distracting to dance up and down the aisles. I saw one young lady do that and it brought tears of joy to me, but… we ought not to be a stone of stumbling. Sorry all, I got preachy. But I hope you get the idea. Praise to God should trump concern for self-acceptance.
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I agree. Thank you, JD. Those were sweet days singing and playing with you in Jonah’s Vacation! Another lifetime ago. I’m going to go mow the lawn and sing my heart out to the heavens as I do so. Blessings, dear friend!