Instead, I rolled down the windows and just drove and drove and drove. And I smiled. And I just let myself feel happy, even though I was feeling all the other things too.
Rhapsody in Blue came on and I sang along. I remembered the disaster that was called piano lessons from Mom. I was 4 years old. I yelled and screamed because obviously having to practice was some form of parental torture. I remembered how I procrastinated practicing for every single piano competition I ever entered, and then threw a fit and almost gave up, and then somehow flourished under the pressure and rocked it. I thought of mother daughter piano recitals in the future and was grateful for how my mom has always inspired me with her talent.
Then it was Tik Tok by Kesha. Ah, a classic. I thought of that time a few years ago that we played at high school assemblies until we got in trouble for playing music that encourages drinking, and I giggled. I thought about how terrified I used to be of those assemblies. There was so much anxiety I thought I'd throw up right in front of an entire school. Now, I know every detail that just makes an assembly work. In that last minute before it starts, everything seems to stand still for a minute. I watch the kids; breathe in, then out. I feel the energy and soak it all in. It's game time. I walk out in my high heels with a big fat smile and decide, right then, there's no where I'd rather be than with those kids.
Next, BYU Singers sang an Eric Whitacre song. I recalled all the times I went to see my sister sing with that choir. She was my hero. Being in that choir became my life ambition, because that music spoke to my soul. I just wanted to wear one of those black dresses and sing for Dr. Staheli and maybe, if I was lucky, date one of those handsome men in the choir. One of the dark haired ones. I never sang In that choir, but now I sing in a different one. I thought of that part in my patriarchal blessing that says how the musicians I respected most would someday appreciate my musical gifts. I thought that was fulfilled when I was 14.
When Rolling River God by Mindy Gledhill started playing, I was transported to that room in that house on Mt. Zion in York, Pennsylvania. I almost gave up in my first transfer as a missionary. I sat in that room "exercising" in the mornings, or crying, rather. I wanted to go home but knew I couldn't. 6 months later I sat in that same room, listening to that same song, realizing that I'd made it through, just by getting through one day at a time. By then, I loved being a missionary.
Hilary Weeks came on. I remember that time when "He Hears Me" came on while I was driving in the car with my mom. I was 12. Life was hard, at least harder than it should have been for a 12-year-old. I wanted to give up but didn't know how. My heart hurt. I felt like a failure at basically everything. I didn't belong in my own family. But that song came on, and little tears streamed down my face as I looked out the window up at the moon, because He heard me, and I knew it. I was a mess, but that was okay with Him.
That's why I don't want to wait to be happy. Maybe today, I feel like a mess, and I worry too much, and I don't understand my feelings, and I am scared of making decisions, and I'm impatient and critical and sometimes sort of lazy. But I was a mess when I won those piano competitions. I was a mess when I learned to love entertaining hundreds of teenagers at a time. I was a mess when I knocked on those doors and found those people who were ready for the gospel. And even in my mess-like state, I find a way to do hard and awesome things. I learned that God can give love and peace and happiness to imperfect people.
So, if you feel like a mess today, just remember...
God loves you anyway.
You can do hard things.
Even really, really hard ones.
And you can feel messy and happy all at the same time.