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Tuesday
Apr022013

When the Road of Life Takes an Unexpected Turn

After 30 years of teaching private lessons, I found myself wondering what it would be like to not teach, to take a sabbatical, some time away to develop as a musician, and explore some of the other ideas and skills I had been developing over the course of a career.  It was the spring of 2012 and I was, for the first time that I could remember, not wanting to teach summer lessons. So, I did the frugal thing, and set aside some money so I could take the summer off and see how things went.  The following is an account of the events that brought me to an unexpected turn in the road.

I was all set to take the summer off.  I enjoyed teaching, so I figured three months of not teaching would give me ample time to work on my own music skills and flesh out some of the book ideas I'd been keeping on the back burner for a while.  I was in good shape financially to do that and there were always weddings and music gigs to add to the savings.  Well, as life is want to give us surprises, as soon as I had declared myself set to take the summer off, unexpected expenses occurred that decimated my savings.  So, I did the rational thing and told my students that I was teaching and which weeks and what days and times they could register for lessons.  Imagine my surprise when I had 3 families sign-up for classes!!! Well, thankfully there were a couple camps that had hired me to teach and a kind friend that extended a helping had.  So, I did ok. 

About mid-August, I was hired as a child-advocate working part time at a local women's shelter.  That also helped to tide me over until my fall semester of teaching started up again.  At about the same time, I was asked to be the music director for Cabaret, the Musical, having a run at the local theater, to which I happily agreed.  I was all set for fall activities.

Call it oversight, or fate, I had hired a band for the show and realized that I hadn't included myself as the fiddle player.  Remembering that I had played the upright bass in college and loved it, I presented myself as the bass player, and got the part.  Rehearsals were intense, but fun, and I was enjoying every minute of it.  About mid-October, I started noticing an inner cringe when I would head to teach, and a noticeable inner sigh of relief when I was done or a student couldn't make it.  And there started an inner conflict and dialogue which took another two weeks to come to terms with and acknowledge that I needed to take more than a summer off from teaching. 

I had said for years that I needed to teach as my major form of expression and could perform as a side job, but with the onset of Cabaret performances, I was having a lot of fun playing, even when I subbed in for the violin player.   I think that awareness factored into the desire to explore other options for work aside from teaching.  There was also, a change happening at church and we started memorizing the Psalms.  During that time, I had the thought that it was a shame that all the Psalms are listed as "songs of David" and yet they are not sung and there isn't a written catalogue of how they are sung.  Being of a personality that loves to accept a challenge, I determined to set them to music and started with Psalm 1, quickly followed by Psalm 103, Psalm 95/96, Psalm 2, Psalm 63, Psalm 3, Psalm 23, Psalm 4, and a portion of Psalm 5.

November came along, NaNoWriMo.. or National Novel Writing Month, and I saw it as a chance to finish one of the stories I had started writing when I was in England.  And I stopped the inner wrestling of thoughts and emotions by finally admitting that I needed to take a break from teaching. I started telling my students and families as I saw them that I would be taking a sabbatical for the upcoming year.  Thankfully, they all understood.  Inexplicably, I felt like I was standing up straighter and taller after each declaration of intent.

I also began baking more and developing new flavors and categories of gluten-free products or yummies as I call them.

I had been saving most of my paycheck from Faith House, and it looked like I would be pretty well set to live on the salary with my savings to supplement while I set about getting the proper licensing for the baking business and finished one of my books or a recording project.  Call me naive, but I guess I didn't remember the events of the spring, or didn't think it would happen twice, but I watched the majority of my savings disappear to unexpected expenses.  Huh??!! Life throws curve balls on a regular basis??

So, I found myself on an exit from a satisfactory and profitable career, with no idea or plan.  I had to trust in GOD to continue to lead and guide me.  Imagine my surprise when very shortly after I found myself in this position or place, my church introduced a new Sunday format for the service, with prayer as the first event of the morning, and on the first Sunday, I'm sitting in the pew and look up at the power point screen where there are scriptures for meditation, and the first one that I read is from Isaiah 58:11 "The LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones;"  Really??!?! Even if I make a mistake, or take a wrong turn, He'll continually guide me??  Yes! He will and looking over the course of my life and the last couple of years, I'd have to say with all sincerity that I have experienced HIS guiding hand. And so, despite the circumstances, what they look like, or how I feel about them, I can have joy and peace knowing that HE is faithful to continually guide me.

 

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    Esther Tyree's My Music Ventures - My Music Blog - When the Road of Life Takes an Unexpected Turn
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