Earlier this year, I was experiencing some self doubt. It seemed like I was never going to find a publisher and I began to wonder if I was good enough to get published. I prayed for a sign that I was on the right track. That night, I had the following dream. Although it is not about being an author, the main character does experience the fulfillment of a life long dream.
My cell phone rang and I saw the call was from my sister, Dawn. Darn, I had meant to call her. “Happy Anniversary,” I greeted her.
“Thanks. Can you do me a big favor?”
“Do you need me to take care of the kids?”
“No, mom picked them up about a half hour ago.”
“Can I help with the meal?”
“I’ve got that under control. Could I borrow that gorgeous blue night gown you bought last year?”
I hadn’t even worn it yet but I figured after a year, it was a pretty good bet I wouldn’t be needing it any time soon. “Sure, I’ll bring it right over.”
When I arrived, the Irish linen table cloth was set for two with Dawn’s sparkling crystal, china, and silver. The aromas of Charlie’s favorites, lasagna and poppy seed torte assaulted my nose.
“Thank you! You’re a marriage savior.”
Dawn took the night gown out of the original packaging and shook it out. “It still has fold marks.”
I shrugged. “Maybe it was just meant for you. Consider it an anniversary gift.” It really frosted me that she would look better in it than I would have.
She laughed. At first I thought maybe she had read my mind but then she said, “It reminds me of a joke I heard. An elderly woman wanted to surprise her husband on their anniversary so she met him at the door in the nude. He said, ‘Your night gown needs ironing’.”
I laughed. “That should be grounds for divorce, right there. Anything else I can do to help?”
“No I just need to shower and dress.”
“Hang the night gown in the shower while you are showering. It might steam out those folds.” I gave her a hug. “Have a romantic evening.” I turned the doorknob and she said, “Oh wait, I have something for you too.” She ran into the bedroom and came back with a ticket.
“What’s this for?”
“Never mind; just go tonight.” She gave me a quick hug. “Good luck. You can do it. I have faith in you.” She practically shoved me out the door in an effort to prevent me from asking any questions. As she closed the door behind me she said, “I love you.”
Nothing on the ticket gave me a clue what it was for. The only information was the time and place. I didn’t even know how I should dress. I settled on a simple burgundy dress I knew looked good on me.
When I arrived, all of the comfortable seating had been claimed except for a couch. There was a sleazy looking guy seated at one end so I sat at the other end as far from him as possible. Apparently he took the term ‘lounge lizard’ literally. In less than a minute he was trying to lounge all over me. I pushed him off and onto the floor. As I got up, I scanned the room for another comfortable chair. I spotted one and headed over to it but another woman beat me to it. I narrowly escaped sitting in her lap.
In another area of the room I saw several metal folding chairs. At least I wouldn’t be fighting with anyone over them. After I was seated, I tried to eavesdrop on the conversations around me but nobody was discussing the pending event.
Suddenly, the room erupted in applause. Searching for the source, I saw Joyce Anthony, a very popular singer. She sang her biggest hit and then she started another song. As she sang, she walked around handing the microphone to various people. Some were only allowed to sing a line or two before she handed the mike to the next person. Others, with better voices, were permitted to sing longer. When she came to me, she had just started singing a fresh song. She still hadn’t removed the microphone after I completed the song. The audience was silent as she encouraged me to sing another. When I was done, the audience broke out in thunderous applause. She smiled at me and handed me a card. Then she moved on. The rest of the night was a blur. I could only focus on the card that read, “Congratulations! You have been chosen to perform at 7 tomorrow night at the Atrium Theatre.” It was the strangest audition I had ever seen.
When I called my sister the next morning, she thanked me again and told me her husband thanked me too. “How did the audition go?”
“I’m singing at the Atrium tonight.”
“Congratulations, I knew you could do it. When I saw the ticket being offered for the audition, I naturally thought of you.”
“I’ll take you tonight. I can’t wait to hear you perform.”
My sister knew me too well. She knew if I had known about the audition, I would have chickened out and she knew if she left me to my own devices, I would never show up tonight.
When we arrived, all of my demons of self doubt were running rampant. There were five people who had won a performance opportunity from the previous night. I was scheduled as the last singer.
Upon seeing the size of the audience, I lost what little confidence I had left. “I’m sorry. I can’t do this,” I said to Joyce Anthony.
“Think of it this way,” she advised. “Last night was for you. Tonight is for them.” She indicated the audience. “Tonight you represent all of their hopes and dreams for success, whatever they might be. Tonight you affirm for them that anything is possible.”
As I walked onto the stage, I prayed I wouldn’t fail them. The standing ovation afterward confirmed I had never sung better.
I realized, success isn’t achieved or enjoyed alone.