Wisdom from Joyce DiDonato

Wisdom from Joyce DiDonato

For those of you who don’t recognize the name, Joyce DiDonato is an opera singer (and a pretty major star).  She’s also a passionate advocate for the arts.  And last week, she gave the commencement address at Juilliard.  You can read it in full at her website or watch it on YouTube.  It’s an amazing speech, full of wisdom that’s equally applicable to every single one of us, whether we’re in the performing arts, or any other creative field or any other calling we might have:

Here’s one of her pieces of wisdom that really struck me:

This can be a particularly hard, and humbling lesson to face – and it’s one I’ve had to continue to learn at every stage of my own journey – but this is a freeing and empowering truth. You may not yet realize it, but you haven’t signed up for a life of glory and adulation (although that MAY well come, and I wish with every fiber of my being, that it WILL come in the right form for every single one of you – however, that is not your destination, for glory is always transitory and will surely disappear just as fleetingly and arbitrarily as it arrived.) The truth is, you have signed up for a life of service by going into the Arts. And the life-altering results of that service in other people’s lives will NEVER disappear as fame unquestionably will. You are here to serve the words, the director, the melody, the author, the chord progression, the choreographer ~ but above all and most importantly, with every breath, step, and stroke of the keyboard, you are here to serve humanity.

Like I said, I think this is applicable to every one of us.  The real value in everything we do – the ONLY value, ultimately – is in how it impacts the people around us, our friends and family, but also all those unseen, unknown people who are touched in ways we might never even realize, by the things we do, the things we create and share.  It’s difficult to come to terms with that sometimes; I know I have a lot of trouble seeing it, when I’m refreshing my sales screen a hundred times a day to see if there’s been one additional download of one of the books, but it’s absolutely the truth.  All the material things pass – money, fame, stuff – but the ways that we touch the lives and the souls of the people around us will last forever.

Go read/watch the rest of it!

(there is a very slight connection here to my books; Sara’s eldest daughter, Grace, might be headed to Juilliard herself – but you’ll have to wait until Book 10 to find out for sure!)

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