Caught Between the Work and The Waiting

My wife and I suffer a date-night curse. 

NIne times out of ten we plan to go out on what’s set to be a beautiful evening. Five PM the ‘cold front’ blows in and we’re wearing rubber boots with our dress up clothes. 

It’d be nice, but we can’t control the weather. 

Driving across town only to get delayed by an accident. Or a train. We cannot always control the way our time is taken from us.

Today we are waiting on passports for the kids that may or may not be ready in time for a trip to New York. Should be, but “no promises”. We have no control over the bureaucracy.

Algorithms decide what we see on our Facebook feed and our perceived bias determines the news we receive. Even where we think we have control – the online version of our very self – we do not. 

As a musician, it sometimes feels like everything is outside my control. 

Any honest soul who has ‘made it’ will fess up to some degree of dumb luck. Right place. Right time.

How can I know when inspiration will strike? When will the next great song start to loop my brain until I capture and create it? Will I receive that grant to make my album, or will I not?

Pins and needles. 

This does not excuse carelessness. The effort still matters. Just not always in the ways I think it will.

Last week I woke up and wrote ‘apply for shows’ on my short-list of important to-dos. I set an intention that morning, and somehow, received three new shows from unexpected places. Random emails and facebook messages. So there is effort and there is luck and there are invisible bonds between them.

So I work while I wait for things I cannot change. This is the artist life and it is not for control freaks. 

There is great peace in letting go and falling back into the arms of providence. Or so I’m told. I’m not so good at letting go, myself. I prefer to chew anxiously on sour worst-case scenarios. 

But slowly, moment by wild and unknown moment, I’m learning to surrender. 

What choice does any of us have?