The events of the past few weeks have left me shaken and saddened. It seems like every time I catch a glimpse of the news or check social media my breath is taken away by a new tragedy. It has become so difficult to handle that all I want to do is curl up in my bed and hide from the world.
But today I got out of bed, put on my running shoes, and went out into the world. As I ran around my little neighborhood I was struck by the fact that everyone I passed stopped what they were doing to give me a wave and a smile. People driving by, watering their lawns, tending their gardens, playing games on their front porches, riding their bikes, taking out their garbage… they all took a moment to acknowledge my existence. It’s a small gesture, and yet, with each new smile and wave my faith in humanity was slowly restored and pieces of my heart were put back together. I began to realize that people are inherently good, decent, and kind. Though the news and social media may lead us to believe otherwise, there is more good out there in the world than bad. The problem is that goodness whispers while evil screams. So maybe it is time for us to speak up a little louder, love a little more, and spread joy instead of fear. Sometimes all it takes is a smile and a wave to change someone’s day and create a ripple affect across the globe. So consider this post a challenge to pass on the love. Share some kindness and you can change the world.
Today I learned of the passing of a dear friend and supporter. Nancy entered my life during my senior year of high school. A customer and friend of my mother, she knew I was struggling to afford tuition to attend University of Southern California, so she arrived one day with a huge care package of dorm room supplies as well as a monetary contribution to help with my bills. She didn’t know much about me, other than seeing me in passing, and yet she had heard of my determination and trials from my mother and she wanted to do her part to help. Over my years of study, she never faltered with her support. Every time she visited my mother’s flower shop, she would have a hug and a small contribution for me. She was always the first one to purchase tickets to my local concerts and she gleefully enjoyed my yearly CD recordings. When I was faltering and losing focus as a singer, I’d think back to dear Nancy who always believed in me and I would persevere. Through the years, she has acted as a little Jimminy Cricket on my shoulder: always keeping me on track and striving for something greater.
Though her health was failing, Nancy came, accompanied by her nurse, to my annual Christmas concert. While I could see her pain as she walked through the door, her eyes lit up as soon as I began singing. She made it through the entire concert and even stayed for a dewy-eyed hug. A month ago, Nancy visited the flower shop for the last time. Her breathing was labored and coughing attacks plagued her, but she asked about me and my vocal progress. My mother sat her down and played my most recent recording of “Come Scoglio” with the Symphony of the Vines Orchestra. While listening, her breathing slowed and found a more rhythmic pace. Her eyes closed, she breathed in every moment of the song.
Nancy followed me through thick and thin, through off-pitched, labored singing to my first forray into the professional operatic world. Her moral support and love created a foundation to fall back on during my hardest times. I will never forget her and her kindness to a small-town florist’s daughter striving to become an opera singer. Nancy, this song is for you.
#detoxyobody challenge day 20: crow pose. “No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.” -Proverb.