What do you think of daylilies? If you were to rank your top 5 favorite flowers, would the daylily make the cut? It didn’t used to be all that spectacular for me- but it has recently become my favorite flower.
Last week I had a conversation with a friend who was patiently hearing me out about my most recent crisis. After rehearsing a vocal musical number with a group of wonderful ladies, my voice was almost completely gone. I went to tell my three boys (who were in an adjoining room) that it was time to go and my voice sounded croaky and weak. I went in excited and thought it was a great opportunity to work on technique and figure out how to get that illusive vibrato to “work” that I hadn’t yet mastered. I went home sure that something was completely and beyond-repair wrong with my voice. Did I not use my diaphragm correctly? Was I forcing the vibrato? More likely I just never was any good at singing in the first place. You guessed it- I was in the middle of an anxiety spiral.
After a gush of tears and a good night’s rest, I was able to see it for what it was. My friend listened patiently later that week as I told her my story. She replied that she could relate, and then asked this question: “What is it that you love about singing?” Perhaps it was the simplicity that startled me. Asking myself that question over the next week surfaced some unanticipated thoughts- deep-seated fears and beliefs that I hadn’t even known were there. The strongest (obviously distorted) thought that surfaced had to do with the fact that my voice would never be worth sharing until I figured out the vibrato.
It became apparent to me that in order to get back to what I loved about singing, I had to let go of these distorted thoughts and accept what my voice sounds like right now; not what it will sound like with vibrato, or what it should sound like with the right support. And suddenly I knew that I had discovered something important.
As I processed these thoughts in a quiet moment, I unexpectedly came across a painting. Across a rich forest green background of trees and foliage was painted a field of daylilies in brilliant orange. It took me back to my childhood home- the farm house. You see, when my Grandma- a master gardener- moved out of the farmhouse, she left her beautiful flowers in our care. As a busy family of seven we found it difficult to find the time (and priority?) that she did to care for the flowers. I remember one particular instance (there may have been several) where my dad joked, “The only flower we can keep alive is daylilies. So….we’re going to do daylilies!” And we did. I’m hoping to dig out a photo of the daylilies that my parents planted all along our front deck at some future point to show you. They were beautiful.
In the moment I saw the painting, the thought that came to my mind was clear: “So…do daylilies.” Who cares if you can’t make roses grow right now. Don’t throw away the dream of what you want in the future. You’ll get there. But for this moment, right now, whatever you CAN do, do that! And do a lot of it. Do it your best, and do it in the way that only you can. So there you are. Acceptance. And do you know what? I really LOVE singing again.
Woah! Condense the message, add a melody, fill in the accompaniment, and this could be a song! Hmmm…