The Silent Musician
Mom. Teacher. Music Director. Friend. Sister. Daughter. Singer. Performer.
Everything I do requires my voice.
Last week my voice broke...laryngitis... I can’t talk, I cant sing. I feel like I’ve lost a limb. At first, I admit it, I cry, I pout, I even shake my fist at the fates that run the universe. But eventually I just sit down and give in. Silence...
Not my normal way of walking through life! But silence, if I can get use to it, might not be so bad. In fact I think it’s birthing something new in me...
I watch my daughters tell me a story about their day at school. There are so many times I can feel I would interject something if I had the voice. But today I just smile and make encouraging faces and listen. Their story unfolds how they want it to, not how I want it. Their faces are lit with excitement and I see them in a light I’ve never seen them in before. They feel loved and seen by me. I can tell. And I haven't said a single word. At least not with my voice.
I go in to teach 6th grade orchestra. I have little posters I made that say “Good Morning Class” and “ please get out music to...” and “start at measure...” The class, normally bouncing and bubbling with 6th grade giggles and whispers, is silent. They are listening to my silence more than they have ever listened to my words! We run a scale in a round and the blending and tones give me goosebumps. This has never happened before. All because I’m not talking?
Yes, I have stepped back and Listening has filled that empty space where my voice once dwelt. We play through each of our songs and they sound brand new, the group is playing as one being. How many times have I suggested this with words? And now it’s just happening on it’s own. This has been by far the most successful orchestra class I have ever taught. And I haven't said a single word... At least not with my voice.
I go to my choir rehearsal. I can’t sing but I don't want to miss it and I want to support the group, so I smile and lip sing. For the first time, I really hear the harmonies in their fullness, I feel how they fit. Oh, how the altos lift up the in between parts and the tenors fill the rests with joyful runs of the scale. I hear how the basses ground the music in the Earth and sopranos carry the melody to the audience. This music that I know by heart, that I have been singing and rehearsing for months suddenly takes on a whole new depth and meaning. God, it’s so beautiful! And I didn’t sing a single note... At least not with my voice.
It’s day seven of this silence. My voice is healing but not all the way yet. I want to remember how to be this silent even what I can talk. I think about a dream my friend had about me this week. In his dream, I gave birth by getting knocked out...
At night, after my girls are asleep, I usually busy myself with dishes or laundry or watching some show on my computer. But tonight I feel drawn to just make a cup of warm tea and sit alone in my living room, listening. Outside the wind and rain sing their autumn song, an occasional car passes, making that swishing noise that tires make when driving in the wet. My heart beats , my lungs breathe, the warmth of the cup soothes my hands. The heat kicks on and I jump, startled! It’s so quiet...no... I’m so quiet that the heat coming on sounds like thunder. I don’t know that I have ever even noticed the heat coming on before this moment. Waves of gratitude hit me - I am warm, sheltered, safe and fed and so are my children, my friends and family. We are so blessed. I can hear the melody of the universe dancing in the gratitude my heart is sending out. I can actually hear it. I’m making music with the universe through drinking a cup of tea. And I haven't said a single word, I haven't sung a single note. At least not with my voice.
I once thought everything I did required my voice.
Performer. Singer. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Music Director. Teacher. Mom.