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Singing a New Song | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother

Singing a New Song

Yesterday, I was again reminded that one season’s ending is another’s beginning. Sometimes a season ends before we are willing to let it go. When we finally let go of the past, new opportunities will present themselves. The song “Turn to Me” reminded me of that yesterday.

Letting go can be hard. I can get so drawn into the mission of a non-profit that I put its well-being ahead of my own and that of my family. One of my passions is to walk into a nonprofit in crisis and find ways to resolve the crisis so it can continue to meet its mission. The problem is I can get so sucked into the problem solving that I neglect myself and my family.  I’m an all or nothing kind of person, and I don’t do halfway with anything I start. So I can add, and add, and add to my plate until it is too full and I break.

My heart attack a year ago tomorrow was a wake up call. I decided the best way to lower my stress was to stop adding new things, and I changed my management style. It’s more vision-oriented than in years past. I cut some small things from my plate and tried to keep going where I thought I was needed the most.

I was too stubborn to let go of a position I held with a nonprofit as their president. They needed me.

I tried to keep helping at the same level I had in years past. But it was no longer fun. In addition to the pressures of keeping fundraisers going, I felt pressure not to get upset and stressed. I ignored many signs to stop. I tried to keep going, convinced I could make it work. They needed me.

The problem is others who loved me were concerned about the impact and worked twice as hard to not only pick up my slack, but they worked to shield me from stressers that might upset me.

This week, the scales fell from my eyes. When I realized how much they were protecting me, I knew I had to go. A good manager needs to know the good, the bad, and the ugly of an organization in order to make the best decisions. I knew I needed to quit but hated to do it.

As I struggled, with tears rolling, my family intervened. I told my husband I would give it a few days to see if there were another way out. He told me it was time to go and stop delaying the decision. Then my kids told me it was time to quit. I was astounded – I took this position years ago to help their organization.

But one is now in college, and the other graduates from high school in the spring. They told me I would be happier without it.  I realized they needed me, and they needed me to be happy. They wanted me to focus on my new job that I love, full of new challenges.

It seems everyone else saw this season was coming to an end, but I stubbornly clung to it, convinced I could keep going.

Finally, Friday I quit, effective immediately. In the hours after the resignation, I felt a slow and growing peace. This was the right decision.

Yesterday was the morning after the resignation. I saw pieces falling into place this past year. More than one friend has told me this year that when you remove something that doesn’t quite fit any more from your plate, something better replaces it. In cardiac rehab, I had been told to remove stresses from my life.

After the resignation, friends cautioned me not to rush to add something new to my plate. They told me God has different plans for me, and I needed to sit back for Him to show me where I go now.

So we went to Mass last night. For years, I had cantored but I quit because I wanted to sit in Mass with my children. I love singing in Church. After my heart attack, I had been afraid to begin cantoring again. What if I had chest pains in the middle of a service? What if something stressed me? I was afraid to add to my plate, so I resolved if and when God wanted me to sing in Mass again, someone would ask me.

Last night, as we walked in to the service, I realized we had an organist and no cantor. The organist came to me, asking for my help. Of course, I said yes. There was no time to warm up or rehearse. Within 3 minutes of my saying yes, the service began. As the music began, I could feel the Holy Spirit flowing through me from the tips of my toes to the hairs on my head.

There were a few Bridget Jones moments – but I like singing by the seat of my pants. I couldn’t find music for the Alleluia when it began and started off faking it, realizing just before it was time for me to sing the solo part that my music was turned upside down on the music stand, and I did have it. When I sang a couple of songs, I got lost briefly as I hit a repeat and had to scramble to find in the music where it repeated to. Every moment was thrilling.

I was happy and had fun. It was my voice singing, but God was guiding me at every step. As I sang “Turn to Me,” I realized once again that that was what I was called to do. Turn to God.

After the service, I told my husband that I felt that God was telling me that He had new plans for me. Once I let go of the old song, He gave me a new one. My husband said he had the exact same feeling at the same time.

So I don’t know what songs I will sing or where I will sing them next. God only knows.

Life is always easier when I sing the song He presents before me.


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