What would convince me to finally post something on this dumb blog in over a month?
Only something earth shattering and life changing.
Of course, in pure Loma style it happened this event actually happened 4 days ago but lets pretend that I ran home immediately after to record it for posterity while it was still fresh and new. And because we are already fudging the truth a little bit, don't be too surprised if my narrative is a little to flourished and grandious for the subject matter. Just go with it.
Before I begin, a bit of back story is necessary. In the world of Loma, there are two great rules: #1: why do today what you can put off till tomorrow?, and #2(and the point of this discussion): never, ever say "no" to anyone (except your own children of course and then it changes to never say "yes"). Don't say "no" to a parent when they call wanting to change piano lessons to 4 am, don't say "no" to the gynecologist when she asks if this hurts, and especially-almost critically- don't say "no" in church. With this philosophy in mind I accepted the worst calling of all time- Primary Chorister- and cried on my way to church every week and on my way home for an entire year. But I still did it up until the Sunday before I moved. I have played in hundreds of wards/stake conferences/ road shows/ musicals over the state if Utah and Idaho. Ususally those calls to perform came with 3 days notice and a brief glance at the music 15 minutes before the scheduled act. I am now the world's greatest sight reader (okay I exaggerate but you get the gist- I'm a "fly by the seat of my pants" expert).
I have never turned down an opportunity to "share my talents" without an absolutely concrete excuse such as debilitating illness or death (I've only used one of those cause I ahve to save the other. It's a one-time shot you know). But this past week I finally did whst I've been telling myself to do for 2 years: I said "NO!"
(I'll give you a moment to clap and cheer......)
......And we're back.
It hurt a lot to say it out loud. It hurt even more because I was saying no to a darling woman who has such a vivacity and passion for her calling, and truly loves the way music touches a congregation. About a month ago she approached my about having our Young Women sing a number in the Christmas concert and I readily agreed (and was glad to people, I'm not a total shrew), but as she gave me the music I happened to spy some of the other songs for the program. As soon as I saw "flute part" written on the top of several songs, I knew she'd be asking before too long.
Here's the thing. I have played the piano every day of my life, and have for 29 years, but more than that I understand the piano. It is my most comfortable and oldest friend. Every day I spend hours trying to explain to children and teenagers just how wonderful it is; how it will make them a more intelligent, cultured and well-rounded person, how it makes them more in tune with their emotions and is a healthy and expressive outlet for all their feelings, how it will bring them closer to the Spirit and is evidence of Heavenly Father's beauty and majesty. I have never, ever felt more closer to the Divine than when I have been playing the glorious chorales of Handle's Messiah, or the simple hymns or worship.
Although I have played the flute for over 20 years as well, I have never felt the attachment to it that I've felt with the piano. Over the years, my flute has spent most of it's time in a drawer, only to be pulled out when one of the last minute calls to perform is extended. My fingers still work, but my embouchure, timbre and tone have suffered from lack of exercise. Most people don't notice. Most are so kind and thoughtful and appreciative for a break from mid-meeting congregational hymns that you could play every other note wrong and they'd still tell you it was the best thing they've ever heard.
Aren't people wonderful? Seriously, there are angels among us.
But then there are the few, the "music snobs" as I like to call them, that feel the need to come up afterward and point out every single missed note, where you were out of tune, and best of all (and most appreciated) how you could be better in the future. I've handled this "constructive criticism" with as much grace as an opinionated, prideful gal such as myself can possibly muster for years, but in the last year I had 2 experiences that nailed the coffin on my flute performing days. I won't go into them, but needless to say they ended in tears and my almost going Puerto Rican all over the offending parties (and by going PR I mean your conscious mind goes completely away and is replaced by a white hot fire monster with a Latin accent that says things that the conscious mind would never have the, er..balls, to say out loud). Thankfully I was rational and didn't let the "natural man" take over, but I decided from that point on I would not play flute in a church setting anymore. My fragile ego cannot take it.
(sorry, I had to stop for a minute because that last line made me laugh out loud. I warned you that I would exaggerate).
My stance has not been tested until this last Sunday, and I'm proud to say I did it. I said "No"> I wasn't rude, but I also didn't back down or give made-up excuses. I simply said I wasn't comfortable playing. And the true test of my determination is that it's now 4 days later and I still don't feel badly about turning her down. I gave her the name of a much better player to ask, and I think she'll do a really good job. In my book, it's a win-win.
Now, lest you fear, this is not the beginning of a pattern. My "no saying" is limited to flute playing. I'll still take the piano lessons at all times of day and night calls, and accept all callings that don't involve being a chorister or scouting (yes, I know I'm making exceptions to the word "everything"- but you do want me sane right?). But it's a new day in Loma world, and it's looking like a good one.