Faith Is Found In Odd Places

This is not a religious post. Rather, it is about the definition of a word. In fact, let us begin with that:
According to Merriam Webster, the basic definition of the word ‘faith’ is: a strong belief or trust in someone or something.
There are times when a series of circumstances test our faith – days when nothing seems to go right, and when every conceivable and inconceivable obstacle appears out of nowhere and is thrown directly in front of you. It takes every ounce of energy you have to avoid running into that brick wall that you are convinced was not there one second ago. By the end of days like those, you tend to get into your car, drive out of a darkened parking lot, head home to a quiet house, and question why on earth you even bother trying.
Fortunately, there are hints of wonder that walk side by side with the challenges. You just have to look hard enough to see them. One of the beautiful gifts I get is watching my students, friends and colleagues “figure it out.” First, yes – it is a GIFT one receives as a teacher. Second, “figure it out” is sometimes the most important lesson you can ever teach someone.
The young adults I go to school with currently and that I see each day want their world to be black and white. “What do I need to do to get an “A?” “What exactly is expected of me in this class?” What do you want me to do at this exact moment in time in order to not be wrong?” This is our world now. The truth of it all is there are no answers to the above questions. The world is NOT black and white folks. The world is 1 million shades of gray. This means that putting the gray matter located inside your skull to work is the only option you have for survival in this world. Sadly, many of our young adults are not ready for primetime – they have been set up to fail by previous teachers, and their parents (shocker or no shocker).
A music teacher I know likes to preface sessions with “Truth or Sugar?” The group says “TRUTH!” always. The reality is the truth is a killer. So, while the truth that today’s young adults have been set up to fail in many ways is brutal, it is not the end result. It is, however, the starting point!
So, where do we go from here? UP! That is where we go! As we climb the ladder which seems to have no end in sight, no arrival point, and no moment of “I HAVE MADE IT!” … we keep climbing because of this little thing called ‘faith.’
Perhaps a recap of the week will help with understanding where all this is coming from this mid-evening as I am in my dorm room in bed writing this:
The derailment began last Friday when the RENT pit orchestra started to set up and was going into rehearsal not knowing what the outcomes were going to be. Then, as I was setting up my gear, I received a call from my friend saying that some of my instruments would not make it before Sunday. Everyone finally finished setting up and were ready to go – and I did not even finish setting up everything! All of this occurred in the span of ONE HOUR!
Next, we finally get the pit fired up (literally, we be electric now!!).  Sound crew is hard at work sound-checking the band and mic-ing us up and we begin rehersal with the opening number. 15 minutes later — it was raining so hard we had to rush to our cars to drive home. Thank gosh I drove my car to the rehersal rather than walking from that part of campus to the other part of campus where my dorm is. The rehersal was finally over.
None of this would have been bad had it been any other time of year. However, the last time we rehearsed was the Thursday night before opening night. The rehearsal on Wednesday had us still on met and since we had a lot of stuff with the cast and tech to work out, we did not “run-thru” the entire show – we were still breaking things down and running “chunks.” If you are following, you have started to break out in a cold sweat because you know what all this means: the first real run of the show, the hardest piece in the show “La Vie Boehme” and the exit music (to name a few) would be under the proverbial gun so quickly! No chunks, no met – start at 8 PM and end at 10:30ish PM.
And they did … and I finally calmed down. Those of you who know me are aware that I get wired with nervous energy for a first in anything. I do not want anyone including myself to fail at anything. I do not want anyone to go home thinking “I am no good.” I do not want anyone to ever feel embarrassed. Usually, I am excited to see or hear what they do because I know they are going to be incredible right out of the gate.  The days leading to opening night were not one of those times. Specifically, on Saturday we had two shows back to back – 8 to 10:30 PM and 12:00 in the morning to 3 AM. I was a nervous wreck and tired. According to the musical director, the actors were not on their game, and we did not have a single full rehearsal between opening night and the two shows on Saturday; the list went on and on. I was a virtual train wreck heading for the end of the line that was hovering over the edge of an abyss.
(ok … perhaps a tad melodramatic …. or not.  Either way, I was a mess!)
Then, we began to play the show after the narration and I giggled.
Then, we played the final crescendo and I chuckled.
Then we started our bows to the audience and I outright laughed.
Then …. the next show was even better.
Have a little faith.  I did not this past week, regardless of the high positive energy I had. I had lost most of it. I was caught up in the insanity and lost sight of faith while imagining how perfect I was pretending to be in the real moment: faith in the one thing that has always been a constant for me — people pulling up their boots by the bootstraps and ‘figuring it out.’
It was always there … I just could not see it at first because I was not looking hard enough …. not to mention I should get back into the habit of spending just a tad bit of time, if anything, to pray at night to God and thank him for everything he is doing for me because even though I may not give him attention every day, at least he gives me faith. Sometimes I feel like I do not deserve it. Have some faith and stand up for your faith, because it comes in odd places sometimes.

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