tracing a vocation


Aphrodite, goddess of love.  Not that it has anything to do with this post.

I’m still not sure how I ended up with voice as my main emphasis for my music education degree.  It was a toss up between piano, voice, and flute.

Flute was first to go.  TMJ problems.

It would have made sense to choose piano.  I mean, if I look back at my childhood and where I had invested my time and energy, where I had worked out my growing-up angst, it was at the piano.  I was drawn to the piano.   If there was a piano, I was playing it.  I remember visits to relatives according to what kind of keyboard they have, what kind of music was in their piano bench.

But as much as I played the piano, I loved singers.  I loved soulful singers.  I loved Toni Braxton unbreak my heart and Whitney Houston And I will always love youuuuu and Mariah Carey and then a hero comes along.  (That dates me, doesn’t it.)

I loved my eighth grade choir teacher.  She couldn’t read a whit of music, but she was black and she could sing and she could make us sing.

Good pianists impressed me.  Good singers touched me.

I realize this only looking back now.  When I was making the momentous decision, somewhere back in 1998, I was coming off of high school years where I had quit piano lessons and spent hours in choir.

Was there a guiding star?  I think not.  Flip a coin, see how it lands.

Somehow I decided on voice, and I never looked back.  It has never let me go.

Years later, I’m trying to make sense of a passion, a calling, that only showed up when I was 17 or 18.  I believe that a person’s vocation is evidenced throughout their lives, if only we have eyes to see it, to connect the dots.

Where is the evidence through my life that singing might be part of my unique vocation, my calling?  This baffled me for a long, long time.  I’ve only figured it out in the last year or so, after much deliberation, and it makes so much sense.

Looking back on my childhood, there are two things that I did constantly and consistently.  One is to play the piano, the other is to read.

Piano and reading.  Music and words.

Put music and words together, add heart and soul, and you’ve got singing.

Music that comes from the soul, through the body.  Words full of meaning that you can mine and wrestle with, linger over, interpret and communicate.

I guess it does all make sense.  The clues were all there.

On top of that, I have an unwieldy and unruly voice that refuses to belt like my beloved Whitney.  That makes a mockery of Christian contemporary singing and Disney princess songs (I can fake it, but it’s definitely fake.)  That wobbles and is unsteady when singing simple ditties for my children’s choir.

My voice is built for classical singing, for opera and art song, for lieder and melodie.  It’s constructed that way.

Add it all together and it explains, I guess, is how I came to be here.

That is why singing has not let me go, even through the baby years where most unimportant things were weeded out through necessity.  That’s why I practice with a baby sitting on my hip, do exercises while washing dishes (“Mom, it’s so loud!”), and ponder texts and translations in the evenings.

Apparently, this is one of the things I am called to do.  The signs are all there.

Signs and wonders.

I do wonder a lot about it, about what it means beyond practicing and now being brave enough to take lessons again.  I hardly want to think about it, really, it seems scary and far off.  I’m scared of being pushed too fast, I’m scared of fear and stage fright (!!!!), I’m scared of having to start all over again, I’m scared of failure.

But I suppose those are another day’s (another year’s?) worries.

For now, I suppose the next step is figuring out how on earth the Shepherd on the Rock can be so heartbroken one moment and greet the spring so blithely the next.  What’s the subtext here?

Have you discovered how your vocation can be traced to your childhood?  Not sure what your passion might be?  Check out wishcraft, it’s cool.





3 thoughts on “tracing a vocation

  1. I keep wondering how I would fit carmina burana rehearsals into being a nursing mum. I loved the philharmonic choir I was in, ditched it when bedrest arrived….but I’m sure I’ll get back there. Like you said with singing, and also for me with writing, I didn’t choose them. They chose me.

  2. Fascinating! Wonder about sharing with little sister. Last I heard she was pondering at least 3 different majors for her college career. Her Meyers/Briggs indicated she would do well in most things. I was pushed into nursing – know my parents had their reasons. But what I got there was the foundation of much of my work in India and Sri Lanka. BUT – also both parents were ‘born’ educators. At the almost end of my career years I took a 16 PF which indicated that admin was my strong area – DUH. I had been doing that for some years just prior to the eval. You have many interests and talents. Let God lead you and then sing praises to/for Him.

  3. Pingback: Sundays, an update, and frasier | spinning in my teacup

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