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On being average

No-one I have ever known or known about has aspired to the status of average. From the time that we are very young, we work for grades that are great, employment reviews that are exceptional and scores of all types that are excellent or superior.

Yesterday I was driving to an appointment and heard a holiday song from a well-known vocalist and did my best to accompany her with the best pitch and vibrato that I had available. For as long as I can remember, I have sought an extraordinary and beautiful voice.  As a part of that goal, I have been members of three choral ensembles, rarely performing solos.

It occurred to me that in my desire to make the greatest vocal contribution, the melodic and memorable vocal quality that I’ve sought is not my best role. My greatly respected and loved choral director of blessed memory often cautioned, “Surrender to the ensemble,” a directive with which I have always complied. Somehow I am certain that he was conscious of my desire to give my best toward creating memorable music.

Consequently, I realize that having the best and finest voice is not as important to my choral ensemble as my reliable, consistent and (yes) average voice. As I blend, I am as crucial to the sounds produced as the soloists who are better equipped and trained to excel.

This is a lesson for life. Doing the best possible job in a factory, health care setting or classroom is an absolutely perfect role. Does this mean that by doing so we are aspiring to mediocrity? By no means – it simply suggests that our best gifts are the ones that are reliable without recognition. Shalom.

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