I was reminded today of a conversation I had with our exchange student almost a year ago after he had seen The Sound of Music for the very first time. It was near the end of his time here, and we had watched a lot of movies – it was a very serious part of an American education, of course.
But I’ll never forget our conversation after that particular movie. I wrote it down so that I wouldn’t. (Sorry, KT):
KT: “I feel like Maria.”
Me: (laughing) “Why?”
KT: “Because the hills are alive.”
Me: “Well yes… yes they are.”
Me: “But really, why do you feel like Maria?”
KT: “I know the way she felt when she left the abbey to go to the captain’s house.”
Me: “Yeah. You’ve really done a lot of courageous things this year.”
KT: (singing) “I have confidence in sunshine… I have confidence in rain….!”
First of all, I’m still amazed by this incredible young man. He did know exactly how Maria felt. He bravely traveled halfway around the world from a culture that is in many ways the opposite – by himself – to stay for ten months with complete strangers while attending a high school with over 2,000 students. (Just the thought of 2,000 high school students all in one location gives me straight-up heart palpitations.) But somehow, he not only learned to communicate at a basic level – but he also managed to translate and express his unique sense of humor in a way that made us laugh out loud on a regular basis. He was basically a comedian… and if you’ve ever learned another language, you know that humor (and the slang involved with it) is one of the most difficult parts of language to master.
But I was also reminded today about all the times that I, too, have felt like Maria. Afraid. Excited. Nervous. Confident. Scared out of my absolute friggin mind. And totally, utterly, furiously and frightfully alive.
It was a good reminder that we should never, EVER stop feeling like Maria. We are at our highest and best when we strike out onto the road with nothing but our hat and our guitar and a viciously catchy Rogers & Hammerstein tune in our lungs.
That said, it’s pretty easy to have confidence in sunshine. What’s not easy is to keep at it when it rains. The rain might make the journey seem too daunting, scary or lonely. You might even start cursing loudly at Maria for ever giving you the terrible idea to go singing and skipping down any kind of stupid lane. Not to mention, you may start to feel rather silly wearing that hat.
But that is precisely the point to keep on going. KEEP. ON. GOING. Because what you’ll find on the other side is always worth it. It may not always be the treasure you expected, but it will be a treasure, nonetheless.
So take a deep breath and swallow that rising feeling of insanity – and purposefully plunge yourself into something that terrifies the complete and utter crap out of you. Look at it in the eye and stare it down. Do it today. Thank Maria later.