There is in the Bible, the parable of the talents. I always felt bad for the one guy. I tend to take the side of the person in those stories who is wrong or is wronged, but that's not what this blog entry is about.
In the talent story one poor guy is given one talent. To make this story short, let's cut to the end: his talent is taken from him and he goes home sad.
I was given the talent of singing. I'm not Barbra Streisand or anything close, but I had a pretty good voice and I just loved to sing, even if no one ever heard. (As a teen, I actually sounded a lot like Karen Carpenter, only not as strong.) I sang all the time. I sang when no one was around and I loved to sing before an audience.
When I went to college, I shared a dorm suite with four other girls. To be courteous, I didn't sing around the dorm like I had done around the house while growing up. I didn't want to disturb them, so I didn't sing. When I got married, I didn't sing for my husband. To be honest, I was embarrassed. I don't know why, but I was and I didn't sing. (Plus we lived in apartments or the basement to someone else's house and I didn't want to disturb the neighbors with my singing.)
Then I had kids. I felt silly singing for an infant, but I did sometimes. As they got older, I tried singing for them, but they didn't like it. I all but quit singing. Years later, we moved to Hawaii. While I lived there, I developed a chronic gunk in my throat. I couldn't get rid of it and it kept me from sounding good when I sang. I figured when we left Hawaii, the gunk would go away and I would sing again.
Four years later we did leave Hawaii and the gunk in my throat did not go away. I tried to sing, but it just didn't sound good and it was hard. I quietly sang hymns at church, but gave up singing any other time.
Then, in October 2010, I tried singing while driving in the car. I sounded terrible. I hated the way I sounded and even through my husband said I sounded fine, I knew that I didn't sound like I use to and I couldn't stand to hear my own voice. The talent had been taken away. But I missed singing. I decided to start singing again and try to work through the awful sound. I put some of my favorite songs in the car and I started to sing while I drove. I didn't care if my kids heard me or not. If they didn't like it, too bad! Slowly, I started to notice my voice was getting clearer and stronger.
In November 2011, one year after I began, I sang for my husband. It was the first time I could ever remember where I really opened up and sang. At Christmas, I noticed I was able to sing two notes higher than I could a year ago. A year ago my highest note was really a struggle and now I can go two beyond that. Those aren't my greatest sounding notes, I'm an alto and need to stay in that range, but I can do it.
I don't say this to boast, but I have to admit, I'm rather proud of myself when I sing now. No one who hears me sing wouldn't know how I've struggled and it really doesn't matter. I know how far I've come and it makes me happy. Is that silly? I know I don't sound as good as I did when I was at my peak in my late teens, and I might never again, but at least I don't hate to hear my own voice any longer. I worked at it and the talent was given back to me. Now I just have to continue working to keep it. I can't loose it again.