Today I turn 30.
In celebration I'd like to subject you to a lengthy blog post about my top five breath-taking moments in life.
5. Singing the Hallelujah Chorus on stage at the Centennial Concert Hall being directed by Andrey Boreyko. I only fully realized that it was a "once in a lifetime" experience in the middle of the performance. I soaked in every note with all of my might until the end of the song.
4. Singing "A Boy and a Girl" by Eric Whitacre with Prairie Voices, under the direction of Elroy Friesen, while being recorded for the CBC. It was the last concert I thought I would sing with Elroy, whose leadership I really grew to enjoy and respect over the four years I sang with him. The songs lyrics were so moving and made me nostalgic for the present, if that makes sense. I knew that those years were some of the best of my life and I had a sense that the concert was a sort of conclusion. I sobbed through the entire song, hoping that the microphones didn't pick up any sniffles and that the audience didn't notice. This is a link to the song, although, not sung by us. The performance was on Concerts on Demand a few years ago.
3. Seeing The Virgin by Klimt in real life. I was in Prague on a choir tour with Prairie Voices. We had an afternoon to ourselves to sight-see and I opted to go to Prague's National Gallery. Few of the others were interested in joining me, so one of the Tenors and I decided to go on our own. I had no idea what was at the gallery, paying my fare simply to enjoy some artwork for the afternoon. The gallery is in a grand old building (as National Galleries tend to be) with polished stone floors and giant windows. It was getting on in the afternoon so the sun was warm and strong, gleaming through the window at the top of some shiny steps. We leisurely walked up the flight and as we turned the corner at the top of the stairs my eyes were dazzled by the intense indigos and golds of "The Virgins." It came as such a shock to my senses to see one of Klimt's most glorious works, seemingly out of the blue. I was dumbfounded, standing there staring for what seemed like an eternity. I felt like I was amongst the women gulping in the colours and patterns. When I came to my senses, all I wanted to do was grab my friend's hand and cry. I refrained from that, as I knew it would be startling for him as we weren't that close. I married him four years later.
2. Selling my first painting. I donated a piece to a fundraising auction for the choir I sang in. My neighbor had suggested a good price would be $200. I was astounded at her appraisal and hoped it sold for that much. I had to stand with the painting while people bid on it. The auctioneer started the bidding and before I knew it, the bids were up to $300. I was laughing! I was overjoyed! Then the bids went up to $400. I was amazed! I couldn't believe it. Then the bids went up to $500. I became somewhat alarmed. Was I hearing correctly? The painting sold for $540. It was an adrenaline rush like no other. I've sold a number of paintings and drawings since then. One day I'd like to be able to devote a few hours a day to my artwork and focus on making it a steady source of income.
1. Seeing my son for the first time. I was so overwhelmed with hope and wonder. I had spent so long imagining who it was that was kicking me from the inside that I could hardly comprehend the person that was placed on my chest after the hours of labour. His identity was unique from the start. I wasn't prepared for that amazement.
Some of you may wonder why my wedding day, baptism or engagement aren't a part of this. I feel like those were all processes, not moments. We work hard on our relationship and our wedding, to me, seemed like a wonderful experience that launched us into the rest of our lives together, not a blip that caught me pleasantly off guard. My wedding was one of the more courageous moments in my life (declaring my love for my husband in front of my loved ones), but I was fully prepared and expecting how inspiring and beautiful it would be. My baptism, too, was a process. It took me years to decide whether or not I wanted to publicly declare my faith. It took even longer for me to decipher what my faith even was. My baptism, too, was something I was fully prepared for and expecting.
Two things I've noticed about my list: four out of five moments have to do with Prairie Voices, and my husband was present at all five. I look forward to what my list will look like thirty years from now.