Monday, March 10, 2008

Dreams of Greatness

Finally, I am alone. I have been waiting all day for this moment. I know that the criticism of what I am about to do would be flowing if anyone else was around. For years, each time that I have done this in the presence of loved ones, I have subjected to gentle ridicule. I don't think there is anything wrong with my behavior but I am clearly in the minority in my family. After double checking to make sure I cannot be seen or heard, I begin to perform the offending act. I start to sing.

I know all about American Idol. I am not one of the millions taken in by this show. But I know that almost every participant is imbued with the belief that his or her voice is the one that the world has been waiting to hear. The sounds that emanate are better, purer than those coming from others. I am sure of this myself. I just wonder why no one around me shares the same thoughts.

When I was in fifth grade, I formed a group and we performed "Under the Boardwalk" for some elementary school talent show. I was, of course, the lead singer. I thought our sound was perfect. While we were not asked to do any encores, and while the offers to take our music to the next level did not come pouring in, I thought it was only a matter of time before I would be discovered.

That was sadly, to be my last night before an audience. After that sterling beginning, my career failed to climb. I continued my training by singing in the shower, singing to the music on the radio, or singing at strange and inappropriate times around my friends. Yet, through it all, I knew that what my mother always said about my having a beautiful voice was totally accurate.

I have been married for 30 years. I have been blessed with a wonderful family. My wife and 2 children find me to have many good qualities. They are supportive of me and give me a sense of worth in ALMOST all my undertakings. There is, however, one area in which they all seem to share the same shortcoming. They are all tone deaf and thus can't hear the greatness in my voice.

To this day, I tend to sing over the voices coming from the CD player or the radio.I drown out the sounds of the Beatles, of James Taylor, or the score of artists who have the audacity to think that their sounds are better than mine, merely because millions of people find them to be appealing. I know that if it were me, and not Paul McCartney singing Yesterday, that the hit would be even greater than possibly imagined.

Yet , while I hear greatness in my voice, while my pitch is exquisite, and my timbre incredible, somehow my family only hears nasally grating tones coming from my lips. It is as if they are in an alternate universe and have been deprived of the opportunity to share in the pure joy of the moment. To them, the only sounds that should be coming from me are the sounds of silence.

Sometimes I am deterred by their persistence in asking me to be quiet. Sometimes I even accede for short periods of time. I sulk, left alone with my thoughts, wondering why they are depriving the world of the pleasures that await them. If only they would give me the proper encouragement, the keys to the kingdom would await all of us.

But, as sure as the day follows the night, there a comes a tune in my head, or on the CD player, that forces the sounds to come rushing out. I am, once again, in full voice, hoping that someone, anyone, will hear me sing and praise me for the beauty they are hearing. Someday, if I sing long enough and loud enough ,that may happen. For now, I just lock the doors, turn off all the lights to make it seem like I am not home, and let go. The greatness is still there.

No comments: