Sometimes even when we’ve given our best—done all that we could—we fail. In that bitter moment of loss, we often question why. I am no different.
Back in high school there was an exclusive choir group, made up of only twelve students. Any student in the 10th-12th grades could tryout. So even in my small school, the competition was fierce.
Near the end of my sophomore year, I joined the throng. There were only two soprano positions open, but I felt confident one would be mine. (I know that sounds cocky, but I had won enough solos while doing community theatre throughout the years, any doubt I could sing was gone.)
At the tryout, I confidently belted out a song I had practiced hundreds of times. When I walked off that stage, I knew I couldn’t have done any better. I nailed the performance. But in the end, I didn’t win one of those coveted spots. It crushed me. For a time, I thought of little else but the why until I realized, or more than likely my mom told me, I needed to get over it. I wasn’t doing myself any favors.
Wallowing in the why of life holds us captive to past events we can’t change. And there we will stay, until we finally ask ourselves, “What now?”
My ‘what now’ required a lot of humility to return to the larger choir group the next year, and not belittle those who had made the smaller one instead of me—even when I beat them all out for the lead role in the musical that year. The final test of my ‘what now’ came at the end of my junior year, when I tried out for the smaller group again. Nothing like a second lashing to see how tough you really are, but at the time, it was what I wanted more than anything. And turned out to be the sweetest victory of my high school years. More than fifteen years later, I still have the t-shirt from that small group tucked away in my drawer.
Your life will be full of all kinds of highs and lows. When a low strikes, forget about the why, it is a question that usually can’t be answered. Life simply isn’t fair. Stop expecting it to be. All you need to decide is what now?