Our family was asked to sing for the Christmas sacrament meeting program. All of us. We wanted a song that could include the littler ones, even let them have a little solo line or two. A simple, sweet message song, we chose "Picture Christmas" from the Primary songbook. We wanted Esther, age 5, to sing the opening line. It would be perfect, everyone's lines seemed to match them. The chorus together. We practiced as a family and it went as most family rehearsals go(at least in my experience). Some kids on the floor, others in and out getting a snack, some goofing off with the music, but overall, I thought it worked and so did my sister, who was playing for us. We'd go with it, and hope for the best. HOPE was a big word here, for Esther has a wonderful voice and LOVES to sing, but to contrast that she can be about the grumpiest kid in town sometimes. If she feels like singing it's GREAT (even surprising how happy and joyful a noise she makes), but if she gets bugged about something or another, oh no, it's the end of it. There's no turning back.
So I didn't get my hopes up. I'd just plan on the song with no beginning singer so as not to be disappointed when she got upset about her shoes or ribbon or coat not being the one she wanted, or maybe getting hungry and no snack in sight. The song would still work out somehow, just less and wanting, but you know, life goes on.
At church all went well. Even when I had to get up and leave the bench for choir and then for accompanying, everything was happy and under control. All was well. Then suddenly Esther got it in her head she wanted to go sit by Anika (her friend on another bench), and I've made it a habit always that our family sits together at church and needed her to be ready to sing, so I denied her request - about 4 times. She started to get frustrated and I thought, 'this is it - here comes the too bugged to sing part.' But she recovered, pretty much only myself knowing about her disappointment in the quiet of the meeting. I had to play for the song number just before ours, so I was on the stand when it was our turn.
I hoped it wasn't like the Primary program, where I had been playing for the children's singing. When they began their speaking parts the primary leaders were suddenly looking all around asking for Esther. Esther? Where was she? Oh NO! I was horrified when I realized that in the transition Primary coming up after the sacrament Esther had been left behind, coloring. And then I knew she was still there, on the floor in the very back of the chapel (more like into the gymn) coloring away, oblivious to the meeting. And, of course, caught off guard like that she DID NOT say her lines, pretty much missed the whole primary program she was so upset and made an awful scene with her big sister who was trying to help her out while I kept playing piano for the hour.
But now I watched carefully to see ALL my children come up and yes, Esther was in the group. There was no step stool and the little ones couldn't be seen overtop, so I picked up Zoie and Mike picked up Est (I really have NO IDEA who had Clara in the congregation but I didn't hear any screaming goin' on). We shuttled Katey up front, Isaac and Mikela on one side of us, Anna and Emily on the other and everyone seemed ready and the music began. Mike leaned Esther over, into the mic for her opening solo line (we KNEW how good she could do it, we just didn't know WOULD she do it?!) I thought I saw her crouch into Mike's shoulder, too shy. ugh.
But no, she leaned up and closer to the mic. And sing? Sing she did! The MOST BEAUTIFUL I've EVER heard her. And that did it, I looked out on an audience full of tears. From that simple little primary song, led by a child, they were immediately touched. She did it. She sang. And because of it the whole song was wonderful.
I taught my Sunday school class about what it means to be a star today (to have the light of Christ within), how you MUST shine and share it (serve, be the best you, follow the spirit, reach your fullest potential!). As hard as it is to be a star (takes SO MUCH courage to stand up and stand out), the blessings are worth it.
and LOOK at what a difference one can make. What if Esther had hidden her light in fear? It really would have ruined it all, been so much less of a song.
What I'm saying is, it IS hard to be a star sometimes (truly painful to have others looking on, to stand alone, to have to stay steady and bright under pressure - like Esther had to today), but I've been reminded this week, just HOW IMPORTANT it for ME to step up and do my part, let my voice, my part of the song, be heard. It is IMPORTANT for you too. SO SING!!! ;)
P.S. Talk about singing, we had the GREATEST evening here singing carols with about 50 friends in our home, a tradition that started for us in NH at Judy Loftus's home. I LOVED it so. (3rd time doing it here in PA already) Thank you Judy.