Andy and I often spend out late evenings in front of the television watching something on Netflix, and he is usually the one to go to bed first, leaving me to finish whatever mind numbing show I need at the end of the day. I'm always told to make sure I turn off all of the lights before I come to bed, and I do, every night. When all of the lights are out and I try to make my way toward the bedroom, it's pitch black, and I couldn't see anything, even if I tried. Nevertheless, the darkness fools me into thinking that the coffee table is in a different spot, or that the door knob had moved, so it's not uncommon for me to stub my toe or hit my knee against something on my way to bed. Of course, I know how to get around the house even in the dark, but my eyes play tricks on me that end in a sore joint in the morning. Over the years I've learned to just close my eyes and walk around like I know the place and trust that the door frame is in the same place it's always been, and I make it to bed unbruised every time. Last week while doing this I thought of how significant of an idea this is - being led astray, or blinded, by what we see.
A couple of weeks ago I lost an audition. I hate the word "lost", but it's the only term for it. This particular job would have kept me in Memphis, and in my comfort zone, so it was very upsetting for me to receive the news. I played well and advanced, but in the end it just wasn't in the cards for me. Having had a fairly successful collegiate and professional music career so far, losing something big that I really wanted (for the first time) left me feeling very mixed and uncertain about everything. Will I never get to call Memphis my home again? Am I not good enough? Will playing in Detroit be the end of the road for me? The feeling of failure and embarrassment overtook me, but I picked up the pieces and continued on in my practice and performing once I accepted the fact that no one wins them all. I suppose the little bit of ego I have wanted a blame-less slate, but I couldn't quite reach it. It was at a chamber music rehearsal the next week when I was reminded of why I'm doing this thing called music. Everything about being a musician feels natural, and I love it. I was blinded by what I was "seeing", when all I had to do was close my eyes and remind myself of the passion, drive, and opportunities that will always been there. I'm sure there will be other disappointments in the future - music is a tough gig - but I feel more prepared for them now that I have my first battle wound. I carry my red badge of courage with pride, and look forward to my next audition, which I plan on winning. :)
There's a spiritual called "His Eye is on the Sparrow", which basically explores the idea that if even a sparrow is watched over and taken care of by God, surely we are as well, many times over. Whether you're religious or not I think its all taken care of in the end, and that we can't be blinded by the circumstance we're in, or a loss. If we focus on what we see too closely, we'll end up stubbing our toe and falling over the living room furniture in the dark room of life.
A sparrow can't see the worms under the ground, but they're there, and the sparrow isn't blinded by the fact that he doesn't see any on the surface. The sparrow must leave the comfort of his tree to get the worm, and although it doesn't snag everything out it goes for, it will eventually have something to bring back to the nest. There's a lot for people to learn from sparrows. Don't be blinded by sight, but rather, see with the eyes that are telling you who you really need to know and believe in - yourself!