Sunday, January 19, 2020

The Joy of Stepping Up

I'm replaying this posting from November, 2014

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. Being the worst made me step up my game, lifting me with breathtaking ease. And the joy of that uplift felt so much more satisfying than any pride I'd felt being top dog in the other band. No comparison!

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 wheezing, strained ensembles. Here, it was real music. I wasn't dutifully playing a role, I was part of something beautiful. It was sublime.

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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