Will it ever end? That’s the $24,000 question. And not just if, but how? One thing seems for sure, though: Rest is Assured (that is, if we are able to quiet all that inner turmoil). We are being asked to upend all of our routines, let go of many of the things that give our lives meaning–friends, family, rituals–in the name of public safety. Everything seems so unusual (most overused word these days=unprecedented) and unfamiliar. After having binge-watched 9 seasons of Shameless on Netflix somewhere about the middle of this week, I found myself feeling suddenly very alone. The void left by being finally separated from my virtual family (yes, sad, isn’t it??) meant I had to take a hard look at what I’ve lost in these last seven weeks. I had to rest and reflect.
I’m an extrovert and I thrive on collaboration and teamwork. I think it’s one reason why I gravitated towards opera as a singer; I love to be on stage interacting with others and creating a work of art that represents group synergy. As a teacher, I love the exchange between myself and the student that results in deeper understanding. And I particularly enjoy the dynamic energy created in a good master class, where I feed off the collective interest and engagement of the entire group as they respond to the learning process of the student I’m working with. All of this is gone right now, at least gone as I know it. And I feel the loss. (This is obviously in addition to the yawning emptiness I feel at not being able to see my family, friends and neighbours in person).
But this week I was reminded of a previous time in my life (no doubt not coincidentally) that corresponded to a major renovation of my living space. My youngest daughter was still nursing, a recent long absence from home for back-to-back jobs was just behind me, I had only one scheduled engagement in the distant future, and I was (why??!?) contracting and overseeing a complete renovation on my home while my husband pulled in long hours in his demanding executive job. At 36 and in my singing prime, I was disillusioned and despondent about my career and wondered if it was over. So I decided to take a hiatus and not sing, not even THINK about singing for a period of time. I waited three months. And I honestly didn’t miss it one bit. But one day, I got up and thought: I want to try again and see if it wakens anything. I went into my practice space, and the moment I began to sing, tears of relief streamed down my face. It was like a homecoming, and I knew I wasn’t done. But in order to get there, I needed that respite. And just like now: Rest is Assured. I need the rest. So I am going to take it.