Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Every Dark Cloud has a Silver Lining" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (02/28/08)
TITLE: Sorrow-Tinged Triumph
By Seema Bagai
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As the band began playing, I donned my “things are fine” mask and sang with the rest of the chorus. My sweaty hand gripped the microphone, while the lyrics on the music stand floated through the tears threatening to tumble down my flushed face. Thankfully, I stumbled through the rehearsal without an emotional outburst.
Driving home, as anguish surged from within, I replayed the meeting I’d had with the worship leaders.
“Clarissa, we aren’t sure you should be a soloist anymore. We like your singing, but your voice hasn’t improved over this past year. You didn’t go to all the voice lessons we had scheduled for you. You need to decide if this is what you really want to do. We’ll be waiting for your decision.”
What I want to do? One of the soloists had invited me to try out for the chorus. I hesitated, but she convinced me I’d be great. Sure, I enjoy singing and have a decent voice. I was flattered and amazed when the worship team enjoyed my audition and asked me to join them. Lord, I thought this was Your will. Now what?
Despite the late hour, I called Allie. “You won’t believe what happened before rehearsal today. They said I wasn’t meeting their expectations. They want me to decide if I want to stay or quit. I can’t believe it. Joining wasn’t my idea in the first place, remember? I feel like I’ve been slapped in the face.”
“Wow. I’m so sorry you had to hear that. What a tough decision. I know you’re hurt, but you’ll figure this out.”
After the conversation I couldn’t sleep, so I slipped into the den where I store my art tools. Since childhood, drawing and painting have been my passion. I’ve entered some contests and received several honorable mentions. The deadline for the next contest loomed and my painting remained incomplete.
I prayed for wisdom and inspiration as I squeezed paint tubes and blended colors on the palette. Seizing a brush, I poured out my heart. My every brush stroke imbued the picture with hurt and rejection. Shades of sorrow saturated the canvas and the painting dripped with my diverse emotions.
The next evening, I apprehensively delivered the completed canvas to the art gallery. As each day elapsed, I struggled to make a decision about the worship team. Sunday morning arrived abruptly and I drove to church, the overcast day mirroring my feelings.
While I’ve enjoyed singing, standing on stage every week with those burning, blazing lights and piercing instruments has sometimes been awkward. On the other hand, whenever I face my easel, I feel as though there is no other place on Earth I’d rather be. I’m still not confident this is God’s will, but I’m going to leave the worship team.
I approached the worship leaders and informed them of my decision. The mental load lessened somewhat, but uncertainty lingered. That evening, I rode with Allie to the art gallery show.
I rambled, “I’m still not sure I made the right decision. What if I should have decided to keep singing? Should I have said I would work harder to improve? What if God doesn’t want me to keep painting?”
“Clarissa, just relax and try to have a good time. You did the best you could. What’s the worst that could happen?”
Inside the art gallery, I searched for my painting. As my eyes scanned the walls, I saw many gorgeous works displayed; some of them created by well-known local artists. What made me think I could compete with them?
“Which painting is yours?” Allie inquired.
“I don’t see it anywhere. Maybe it was so terrible they decided not to display it.” As my heart drummed, my eyes widened. “Wait. Maybe… No way. It can’t be. Can it?”
“What?” Allie called out as I dashed across the gallery to the winners’ display, hope surging from within.
My trembling hand covered my gaping mouth. On the wall beside the canvas, I spotted the blue ribbon with the words “grand prize” emblazoned in gold lettering. Joyful tears dripped onto the floor as I realized God had just shown me exactly what He wanted me to do. Distress and uncertainty dissipated as I received affirmation of my decision via this wonderful victory.
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