Soon, I was playing scales, trilling notes, and reading music almost as well as I did when I was a student. Since joining, I have enjoyed three years of playing in the church’s annual patriotic and holiday concerts and have become re-acquainted with several former band members. Also, I have made many new friends in the orchestra.
Sometimes the things we are most reluctant to do turn out to be good for us.
I can’t help thinking of my late friend, Barbara Robinette Moss. She wrote a heart-wrenching memoir about growing up in Anniston; and, through I reviewed her book for The Anniston Star, we struck up a friendship that lasted for years. (Her book, by the way, is Change Me into Zeus’s Daughter. It is a recommended read, especially for Annistonians.)
Barbara introduced me to the herb cilantro. I disliked it at once and told her it tasted like soap. She insisted I continue trying the taste and said I would learn to like it. She was right. A couple of years later, I tasted cilantro in a recipe salsa and was delighted to suddenly think it was refreshing. Nowadays, I grow the herb in my patio garden each year.
Another similar discovery happened when my children were young. I was so attached to them that I would never leave them. My sister Brenda insisted that a break from the children would be beneficial for me. She talked me into accepting an airplane ticket she bought for me, and I traveled with her to Portland, Oregon, where our aunt lived. I fell in love with the Pacific Northwest and later insisted my entire family take a trip there. I have returned several times and would not trade the memories I made there for anything.
The same thing is true with a trip I made to Boise, Idaho. In 2009, I was reluctant to travel to visit a friend I had made on the Internet. She invited me to come to her church and speak about my inspirational books. I gathered the courage to visit an unknown person in an unknown place and went. I had a blast in Boise, and my friend still communicates with me on Facebook and email. What a dear friend she has become to me. I can hardly wait to visit her again in Boise.
I have friends who tell me similar stories. Several of my church friends have hesitatingly gone on summer missionary trips, and they have found that they loved going. Now, they return year after year to serve others in similar ways to Honduras or Panama or other faraway places. I have not had the opportunity to go on such a trip yet, but I may.
Having a plucky, daring spirit about new things is a pretty good way to live, and it might even save our lives. My 87-year-old stepfather recently grew weary of living in pain from a bad hip. In March, he made the decision to face surgery, even thought it was high risk. Now, he is making good progress. Although his is recovery has been hard and strenuous, his strong spirit is evident daily. I believe the relief from pain he has received has probably extended his life indefinitely. We humans cannot be wimpy decision makers, or we will miss out on life’s most enhancing experiences.
So, with summer ahead, make plans for a trip, have surgery to improve the quality of your life, try an exotic food, begin a new activity, and seek a new friendship. Such endeavors might expand your horizon and enhance your life immeasurably.
Email to Sherry at firstname.lastname@example.org.