It can be exhausting to push against something that is stuck and resistant. Trying to unlock a door that has been rusted shut is tough.
It’s easier to let the door stay closed and walk by, not being curious, not caring what’s there.
Recently, I heard about a treasure found in India in the basement of a temple that has been cared for by the same family for 400 years. There were rumors that it contained a vast store of riches but no one wanted to investigate lest it disturb the god for whom the temple was built. Somehow, finally, someone insisted, and against great resistance from the family and from some of the local officials, the locked door to the deep basement storehouse was opened. When it was, indeed, it contained jewels, gold and silver in great amounts. Quite worth the trouble it took to upset the 400 year old status quo. Of course, after the fortune was discovered, there was a great deal of “discussion” about what to do with it. I think that’s not settled (will it ever be?)
The point is this. One man had to push and push hard to get to the treasure. He encountered resistance of various kinds and it took both persistence and perseverance to get the door unlocked, but in the end, he was victorious. It only takes one person with this kind of determination to turn things around.
Some people are blessed with an enormous amount of determination and a very strong will to go against very heavy odds. Christopher Columbus was one of those folk, and Nelson Mandela is, too. Those individuals who have gone to jail, suffered persecution, been maligned, and seen their families suffer have had to sacrifice so much to accomplish their goals. People sometimes forget the price these individuals pay for paving the way to something new, something often much better. This has been true since the beginning of recorded history. Socrates took hemlock. Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. St. Thomas More was beheaded. John Brown was hanged. Martin Luther King was shot. Resistance can be very dangerous, but it certainly isn’t new.
I think that people who have a vision of how life could be if there was less selfishness, less close-mindedness, less attachment to greed, power and money, sometimes despair because their view of life is seen as being “too pie in the sky”, “too abstract”, “too Pollyanna-ish”. Yet, without the people who see things through rose colored Utopian glasses, nothing would ever evolve. Looking toward the far distant future with optimism is not always easy but some people manage anyway.
I hope that each person who reads this blog will do his or her best to be a harbinger of change. If you are a singer or a teacher of singing, hold the profession to the highest possible vocal standards — the highest standards for teachers of singing, the best possible approaches to blending music, voice and soul into a cohesive whole one person at a time. Do not succumb to mediocrity. Do not fall into “being OK.” Do not let yourself hide in ignorance or arrogance. Seek always to put the music and the voice first.
If you grow exhausted from “fighting the good fight”, take heart. Rest, renew and then go forth again with vigor knowing you are fueled by the best energy and highest purpose. Just do what Winston Churchill advised: Never, never, never give up.