So I mentioned to a friend yesterday that I had been known to get up and sing with the band in college. My friend was intrigued. “You sing?!” she exclaimed. I had to back track just a little and tell her an abridged story of pitchy melodies sung with a drunken slur. Mind you it didn’t really matter which band or even if I knew the lyrics, I just really enjoyed singing.
I typically dated drummers, they were usually the craziest guys in the band. One time, I went out with a lead guitarist, way too cocky for me. The lead singers always seemed to have bad breath. I think their halitosis resulted from the amount of beer consumed during their gig and the number of cigarettes they smoked coupled with the dry mouth that accompanies singing a full set. That’s where I stepped in.
I was that girlfriend. The one who waited until the end of the third set when I had a six pack of liquid courage in my gut and the band was exhausted and I would climb on stage. I’m sure that the sounds I emitted during that time were less than soothing, but I thought I rocked. I always wondered why I was never scooped up by a recording label and made the headliner for the next breakout band of the 80s.
The music I listened to in the 80s wasn’t main stream either. I was edgy and goth before it was a thing. Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Smiths, and The Sugarcubes could be found blaring from my speakers most days. I was so cool. Let’s face it, I was the American version of Bjork just waiting to be discovered. Clearly, the record industry missed out when no one signed me to their label. (I really hope the sarcasm is evident in the last few sentences.)
I pursued my singing career like everything else I did back then, haphazardly. I lacked the discipline to stick with anything for any length of time and I lacked the confidence to truly believe I could ever succeed. Years later, that self-doubt still clung to me. Overcoming it has been a bit of a challenge.
Sixteen years ago, I was asked to sing a small solo part in my church’s Easter cantata. When I say small I mean minute, we are talking two lines, maybe. I was terrified. It is really frowned upon to come to church bombed and I hadn’t performed sober since high school. What was I going to do?
At the time, I wasn’t new to my Christian walk, but I was still teetering on the stepping out in faith part of it. I was so afraid of messing up in front of people that I almost turned down the opportunity to honor my God with song. My fear of rejection was so large it overshadowed a call to share my meager gifts.
Singing that small part in front of a crowd of 40 may not sound like much, but for me it was huge. I didn’t have a boyfriend behind the drum kit ready to kick in with a great rhythm if started to swoon off-key. I didn’t have a blood alcohol level that would tranq a horse coursing through my veins. All I had was the holy spirit holding me up in front of the microphone and the whispers of encouragement from my husband floating in my ears. So I did it.
My recording career has never taken off, nor do I expect it to. There is a little something called talent that is necessary for such a thing to happen. But I did begin to be a little more diligent in the way I sought out my calling at that time. With one act of courage, my timidity began to abate. Seven years later, I was leading over a hundred Cub Scouts and their adult leaders in song before Day Camp started. I willingly played the fool and belted out line after line of silly camp songs to help set the tone for the day ahead. And I did it for an entire week. Me, the person who was mortified at the thought of public speaking, rose every morning excited about the day ahead and the area that God had called me into. I was graced to play outside with rowdy, stinky boys and sing as loudly as I wanted because I had followed God’s will into one little aspect of my life. How glorious is that?!
I’m not really sure where God is taking me these days, but I do know I need to listen and follow his will in what I do, even when I feel unsure. I just quit another job to take care of my in-laws and I don’t have residuals pouring in from my days with the band, but I am sure he will provide. When the uncertainty presses in, one small act of sober, intentional obedience might be just the thing to propel me into a greater destiny than I have ever imagined.
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, and a part-time basket case who wants to be a full time writer.