How “Silver Bells” Taught Me a Valuable Lesson
Today’s special guest is JoAnn Durgin. Starlight, Star Bright is JoAnn’s sequel to the popular Meet Me Under the Mistletoe, part of Pelican Book Group’s 2012 Holiday Extravaganza. The author of seven books, JoAnn is an estate administration paralegal in a Louisville, Kentucky law firm and lives in southern Indiana. Visit her at www.joanndurgin.com or via her Author JoAnn Durgin page on Facebook.
I loved everything about third grade. My teacher, Marcia Mackenzie, was this petite, adorable woman. Every hair was always in place, and she wore the most beautiful dresses I’d ever seen. Miss Mackenzie also drove the coolest silver British import sports car and was sweet and soft spoken. She was patience and kindness personified and, to my knowledge, never raised her voice or lost her temper in front of her students. Needless to say, she made a big impression in a year when we learned long division, cursive writing and I came down with a nasty case of the mumps following a field trip to the public library. If I’d become a teacher, I’d credit Miss Mackenzie as my inspiration.
Perhaps because I wanted to impress my beloved teacher, I did something I’d never done before in the school Christmas pageant that year…and proved myself the fool. All I had to do was line up with my fellow students and sing “Silver Bells.” No acting was involved other than swinging a bell—cut from heavy construction paper and decorated with silver glitter—back and forth. Easy, right? So, what did I do? I sang my proverbial little heart out. Loudly. If an eight-year-old could bellow, that’s most likely what it sounded like…but halfway in tune, I hope, and not like some kind of moose in heat. It was enthusiastic and. . .rousing. Now, that’s the word for it.
The music teacher (whose name I cannot remember) kept glancing my way as we started on the second verse of “Silver Bells.” With her pasted-on, frozen smile, I thought, Wow. She must be proud of me. I’m doing a really good job. That only prompted me to sing even louder. Finally, the teacher kept directing the other students with one hand as she walked over to me and leaned close.
“JoAnn,” she said (sounded more like a hiss, as I recall) “you don’t have to shout. Everyone can hear you just fine. Don’t overpower the others.” At least she said it more or less in private, but it only takes one to be proven the fool. I wanted to sink into the gym floor, and I’m sure my cheeks were on fire. My mom never said anything, and neither did Miss Mackenzie. Neither did the music teacher, and I’m sure they all just wanted to forget about it. Then again, maybe they didn’t think another thing about it. But the humiliation and embarrassment has obviously stayed with me all these years later.
So, what did I learn from this experience? Well, I’ve never been one to exactly “blend in.” But I have learned to not overpower others, especially when singing in a group. Good thing I married a man with a gorgeous tenor voice, and he’s often had to tone it down so that he doesn’t overpower my voice.
In retrospect, I learned something else that day that’s even more valuable and a basic truth of life. It’s not about being the loudest, the best or the one getting the attention. Sometimes it really is about blending in to make a harmonious whole. We all have our “parts” and how we go about it is every bit as important as the end result. I don’t need to shout in order to be heard. Sometimes a whisper is all that’s needed. And the Almighty hears it all. I’m so thankful for that.
Blessings to you and yours, friends, during this most special and precious season of the year!
James 4:6: But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. (KJV)
Dante Moretti, Texas-born goalie of an Italian World Cup champion team, expects Starlight, Iowa will be only a blip on the radar of his life. Grabbing a quick meal at Barney’s Diner during the holidays, Dante meets two women who capture his heart in very different ways. Then his rental car won’t start and leaves him stranded. Does the Lord have a plan for bringing him—and keeping him—in Starlight?
Amanda Marston is excited to be home for her brother’s wedding. When she drops in for a cup of coffee at Barney’s, she’s charmed by the mysterious, Italian-spouting cowboy. Before she can blink, the handsome stranger is helping with projects all over town and working his way into her heart. Does God have a plan for Dante in her beloved little Starlight or will he take her heart with him when he returns to Italy?
Jacob Marston, Starlight, Iowa’s hometown hero made a long-ago promise to the Lord: he won’t kiss a woman until he knows she’s “the one.” Now at age twenty-eight, the rugged firefighter questions if it’ll ever happen. Then, he meets his best friend’s sister, and Jake believes he’s found the woman of his dreams. But what will she think when she discovers his vow?
When Julia makes an unexpected confession on Christmas Day, Jake shares his secret with her, and it looks as though happily-ever-after will make a holiday appearance.
But somehow, everyone in the tiny town of Starlight learns Jake’s secret, and he’s instantly transformed from town hero to laughingstock. Did Julia reveal his secret? Can Jake forget the humiliation and find his way under the mistletoe to share a forever kiss with Julia?