Monday, June 02, 2008

To Be or Not To Be

Speaking of finding a calling, Out of Africa director Sydney Pollack died last week. As I read about his life, I couldn't help but wonder if there is such a thing as destiny.

In some measure, I believe the answer is yes. Pollack might not have been specificially destined to be a director, but he had all the requisite personality traits.

One needs to hone one’s skills, of course. Who would deny the necessity of effort? A great deal of effort. But I don’t believe that everyone can be a great artist or writer or biologist. I don’t think we can be what we are not.

Take flowers. Some are small and unassuming. A snowdrop can’t compete with a peony in full bloom when it comes to making a color statement. But each species is beautiful in its own right. (How glorious to see that first cluster of snowdrops poking through the ground in late February!)

I remember my choir director in high school telling me that I was a blender, not a star. His words stung, but he was right. I’m a second soprano who can’t quite reach the high notes or the low ones, let alone stay on key. Truthfully, I didn’t want any solos. I was happier to sing along.

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