A Sentence of Silence

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I was a prodigy. Shining under the blinding lights, smiling until my face went numb, singing like there was no tomorrow: this was my life. This was who I was expected to be. It was not until that dreary January day that I discovered who I truly was. It was then that I was forced into a harsh and humbling sentence of silence.

I was ushered into the exam room as my eyes apprehensively scanned the surroundings. There was a monstrous examining chair, piles of sharp metal tools, and a big, bright, interrogation light, cooling from the last victim. The doctor briskly walked in and demanded that I open my mouth. Hesitantly, I pried my jaw open and watched him stick a long mirror down my throat. Eyes watering and feet twitching, I was commanded to sing. "Is he kidding?” I thought to myself. “SING, Sweetie. I need you to SING!” So between gags threatening to spew my lunch and tears running down my face, I began to sing.

Once I could bear it no longer, he slid the mirror out of my throat. “Well,” he explained. “It seems you have formed a rather large polyp on your vocal chords. If you ever want to sing again, I will need to prescribe some steroids, and you will need to rest your vocal chords for a while, maybe three months?” My imagination ran wild. I pictured myself transforming from a skinny fifteen year old prodigy into a hormonal teenager growing man muscles and chest hair while struggling to sing the soprano solo in the upcoming school musical. My voice was my forté, my identity; did they really expect me not to use it for three months? Unfortunately, I didn’t have a choice. I would have to submit to my sentence of silence.

On the dramatic ride home, my mother tried to comfort me through my exaggerated sobs. She reassured, “This isn’t going to be easy, but I am sure there is something to learn from it.” At that time, these were the least comforting words she could give me; in my eyes, this was the end of the world. I soon realized that this wasn’t the Apocalypse, but merely a way for a new beginning.

Sadly, I never truly recovered. While this troubled and humbled me in the beginning; this situation soon became something for which I can be thankful every day. My “sentence” taught me to realize that singing wasn’t my true passion; it was something that I was trained to love to do. Without this ruling, I would have been too afraid to step from my comfortable boundaries, to enter into a world where I had the possibility of failure.

What I found outside this comfort zone was a true passion for life. I gained a different purpose and true joy. Working with children, especially those with physical and mental needs is every bit as exciting as roaring applause and curtain calls. As I spent less time singing, I was available to engage in what I now know I love to do. I had a free class period to be a peer tutor; free afternoons for my friend Virgina, an eight-year-old with Downs Syndrome; and free time to find an everlasting joy investing myself in others. This has become a true love that I could never have found through music. Thankfully, the Lord revealed my calling in life through a little bump on my vocal chords that opened the door to a new life-song.





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