(Note - this isn't a post about a stigma... but it is about gratitude, which is a major part of overcoming all of the stigmas that many of us have to deal with.)
I had planned to write this right after it happened but life got in the way. Now, several days later, I finally have a minute to do so.
My new husband is a drummer. It's part of his identity, though he might not admit it. He hasn't played in years but still thinks about it a lot.
I can fully understand this because being a musician (guitarist and keyboardist) is part of my identity, even though it's been even longer than him since I last played.
Like so many other things in my life, like learning sign language or becoming a writer, I had given up on ever playing again, especially as part of a team. He hadn't... though he did recognize that it was very unlikely for him to do so again.
When we first started dating and found out that the other had played on worship teams before, there was a slight hope that one day we would play on a team together. This had been a secret dream of mine since I was a teenager and when my first husband wasn't a musician, I resigned myself to knowing it would never happen.
As time passed, it seemed less and less unlikely. We went to a church for a while that had a semi-professional worship team - they were all at an extremely high level. He played on their team once as a percussionist - and wasn't invited back. He found out later that they didn't want someone who couldn't read music - but they never asked him if he could.
He was so hurt that he didn't fight it and so we were back to thinking it would never happen.
We ended up leaving that church to go to a deaf church. Though the Deaf love music, obviously they don't have a worship team. We factored this into our decision to join that church. We love the pastor and people so much there that we didn't even have to think about it to decide to join... and gave up that dream.
Then, almost exactly a year ago, our pastor shared that he had been talking with a pastor of a hearing church to possibly merge. It took a long time to work everything out, but as a group, we joined that church this past summer.
This was really exciting for my husband and me. The way it would work is that our church would join the hearing church in a joint service once a month where we would have an interpreter and the other three weeks, we met separately and had deaf church (all done in sign language).
Our worship team dream wouldn't have worked if the hearing church only had one service - but they have two. So we knew when joining that we could potentially be part of the team for the first service and still go to the deaf church for the second.
Even after a period of several months, we still hadn't been able to "try out" for the team. (I put that in quotes because there's not a formal audition but obviously, they do want to make sure you fit in before becoming a permanent team member.)
Finally, it happened. Well, at least it happened for my husband. Due to my upcoming rotator cuff surgery, I knew it would be months before I could even think about trying to play again.
Early last week my husband got an email that they wanted him to come to practice Wednesday night and play this past Sunday.
We both were excited... and nervous. Would he play and get burned again? Each of us knew that we had that same worry but we didn't discuss it. It was enough for him to get to play even once.
Last Sunday morning I was so full of emotions. I have been super stressed about my upcoming surgery and on top of that, I didn't feel well physically. It took everything in me to make it to church that morning (he had to be there early for practice so we took two cars).
I'm so glad I did! Some of those in our deaf church wanted to see him play so they asked that I record it. My heart felt like it was going to burst while I watched him play. I couldn't keep the tears from trickling down my cheeks.
Mixed in with so much joy was also a little sadness. I wanted to be up there with him. I know it'll be a while before I can even possibly play - and there's the chance that they won't need me even then.
That sadness was a minuscule part of my emotional state though. Mostly I was just so thankful... so very grateful... that at least he was up there, doing what he loved.
I can't leave without being totally transparent, though. It's Wednesday afternoon and he never got an invitation to practice this week. There are soooo many reasons that he hasn't been asked at this point that have nothing to do with them not wanting him as part of the team, that we're trying not to worry.
Not worrying is extremely difficult to do for me. I'm working on it in therapy (have been for years!) but it's still my typical go-to in situations like these.
I think in many ways it's worse when someone you love is hurt than when you are.
No matter what happens with him being asked to continue to play, nothing can take away how I felt last Sunday - full of joy and hope and a big reminder that even when you've given up on a dream, there's always the possibility that it can still happen.