Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Joy of Stepping Up

In my middle school, there was a junior band and a senior band. As a first year student, I was assigned to the former, where I was the best player. One day, one of the senior trombonists fell ill, and I was asked to rehearse with the senior band for a few days.

Here, I was the worst musician, and it was a revelation. Of course, the greater skill level made me step up my game, and I improved much more swiftly than I ever had before. The challenge to step up lifted my abilities with breathtaking ease, and the joy of that felt far more satisfying than any pride I might have felt from being top dog. No comparison!

But, more than anything, I was thrilled by the richness of the music around me. All my previous experiences, where I was the best guy, were with what seemed like wheezing, strained ensembles. Here, I was surrounded by what seemed like real music. I wasn't dutifully playing my role, I was part of something beautiful.

Finding myself the worst guy was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Why would anyone choose to reign in hell when given the option to serve in heaven?


Serve or reign, it barely matters. What counts is location, location, location! The curse of being the strongest guy on the team, the smartest guy in the room, or the best player in the band is to perpetually live amid seeming weakness, stupidity, and discordance. Why would anyone choose that?

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