God’s idea of excellence..!

SHE was a professional singer. I knew she’d been through voice training abroad, when she with an already beautiful voice was taught to use it even better. She had come back from America after her training, and many times as she led the church through the hymns in the morning service, I had loved her tone, pitch, timing and expression.
But today, I realized the pianist who was to accompany her was new. I found out later that she was just learning to play the piano. I watched as she fumbled with the notes and when the singer who was supposed to lead us started singing I could see nervousness on the pianist’s face, and her fingers transmitted this same nervousness to notes played all wrong! The first hymn which was supposed to be sung at a brisk, fast pace was being played by her like a funeral song.
And then I heard something strange. I heard the professional singer, singing at the pace of the pianist. I heard her slowing down the hymn, even having members of the congregation frowning as they felt their favourite song being sung in a different way. I could imagine them saying silently, “We thought she’s a professional, doesn’t she know how to lead us?” But the trained girl who was leading was slowly encouraging the learner pianist, and in the process her reputation for her excellent leading of the singing was being torn to tatters. But she didn’t care. I saw the pianist slowly getting confidence. She started playing the right notes. Her nervousness slowly disappeared and slowly she picked up pace as her fingers found the right keys on the keyboard.
“Thank you!” I told the professional singer afterwards, “Thank you for showing us what excellence really is! Today we learnt that excellence is not just singing with our best voices, in the best way, or doing something perfect. Today I learnt that excellence could be risking your own reputation to build someone else’s confidence!” The learner pianist was quite pleased with herself after the church service. I saw her going round with a smile, and even saw her husband glancing at her with pride. Nobody thanked the professional singer, but she had a smile on her face, “There’s somebody up there who’s saying thank you to you!” I said, pointing up. “Yes,” she said, “I can feel God saying thank you to me!”
I walked slowly away, and pondered about this; how many of us think that excellence is pushing and shoving and showing we are the best, when really it is, laying aside something we are good at, to build somebody else up to be the best. I realized that what I had seen was God’s idea of excellence..!

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