21 Sep Then and Now
Five months ago our team missed qualifying for the Olympic Games. It was so sad. I cried in my hotel room in Italy, asking so many questions about why. I trusted God was good, but I didn’t understand why all our hard work had not amounted to the fulfillment of our dreams.
I got home and got busy because I’m one to think taking action helps with sorrow. I took a class in TO, took a trip to Nashville, took another class in Ottawa, played some shows, and I began to feel ok. I sometimes woke from dreams with tears or would randomly cry when retelling our story, but I was ok. I had hope.
A couple weeks before the Olympics began, I was sitting on my blue couch doing my morning ritual of journaling and reading the Bible. I became really unfocused as ideas began to fill my mind. I condemned myself for not being able to sit still and be present, but I just couldn’t contain what I was feeling. I had this idea that I needed to finish the song I began writing for my water polo team before we went to Olympic Qualifications, the song I stopped writing when our dream failed.
The song is called Made It, and it’s the journey of 1) professing you will make it, 2) doing all you can to make it, so you can say, 3) “I made it!”
I scurried around the house, thinking it would be great to finish it, get a gospel choir together, make a video, and then send it to my Olympian friends representing Canada in London via Twitter. I knew what it felt like to give everything, I knew so many of them were as nervous as they were excited, and I just felt some sort of need to not pout in a corner over my failure. The reality was, I wouldn’t have been able to finish the song if I was in London preparing for our games, so I figured I’d take advantage of my free time.
So, I did it. I finished the song. River’s Edge Gospel Choir, led by Ruben Shaym, also accompanied me in a video with their awesome voices. And we posted it! (The funny thing now is that I honestly contemplated not posting it because I wasn’t pleased with the quality of the video due to some technical difficulties we had! Pfff. Clearly, perfection isn’t necessary in life. Let me be your example.)
And from there, a story unfolded.
The media liked the video, TV shows liked the video and the Canadian Olympic Committee was moved. I was interviewed and asked to perform on television. And then, the cherry on the cake, I was asked to perform at the 2012 Olympic Induction into the Hall of Fame in Toronto. On the bill? Sarah McLachlan, Hedley, Marie-Mai…and Rosie! Ha. ‘Nuff said. It’s been a whirlwind.
We rehearsed yesterday, and it was magical. Guy St-Onge is our musical director, and I feel like I love the guy already. He leads well, he’s calm and poised. He smiles beautiful. He said it’s ok if I cry tonight because Celine Dion cries in performances, too.
And here I am.
I’ve dreamed of music since I was a little, little girl, and I have the opportunity tonight to sing a song of hope to people I deeply respect with a group of amazing musicians and 80 choir singers at an amazing venue, the Air Canada Center.
I’m so grateful.
I think there’s hope, no matter what happens to us. And I’m happy I chose to take action with my life in a way that represented that hope, even if my heart was sometimes a mess.
My friend Don taught me the idea of ‘redemptive perspective’, that when something bad happens to you, you can kinda plant it like a seed that has the potential to grow into something new and beautiful. He didn’t have a dad, so he started a mentoring project for fatherless boys in America, which is now helping thousands of boys. I didn’t get my Olympic dream, so I wrote an Olympic song, which is now unfolding into a new dream.
All that said, I bet there’s something for you, too. I bet there’s something that didn’t end up the way you hoped. Something that totally sucks. But it probably changed you in a way that’s made you more empathetic toward a certain group of people or more caring for a particular cause. You should plant your pain like a seed. And holyyy smokes, watch something grow.
Even if I trip and fall on stage tonight, I’m still blessed. It’s already a beautiful story.
Martin Luther King Jr. said pain is finite and hope is infinite. Let’s believe it. See you on stage tonight. I’ll be the girl dressed in gold.
And here’s where you can buy the song: http://rosannatomiuk.bandcamp.com/