This I Believe

Donna - Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Entered on January 22, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: carpe diem


I believe in “having a plan”. When the United States charged into war after 9/11, I e-mailed the president early on and suggested a plan. He didn’t respond.

After Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, our Governor and others talked a lot- they still are, but I and many others wondered, Where is the plan?

I am a piano teacher in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and I love my job! I outline a plan for each student. Encouraging beginners to listen for the rise and fall of each note ultimately leads to the beauty of a singing phrase. Each student brings an assortment of learning styles, skills and opinions. My job is gathering the maze of pieces and completing the puzzle, guiding each child through the language of music.

Day-to-day goals are the easiest for me. Sure, I have a plan of retiring in my Arkansas hometown, but that seems so far away! If I can meet small daily goals, it is a celebration to make it to 8:45 pm- when I finish my last lesson of the day. Definitely, a Pinot Noir moment! I hold no personal visions of grandeur; I just hope to be the best ordinary person I can.

Each morning, always too early, my 12 year old lab wakes me. Walking before the school bus appears, I thank the Lord that I can dress, grab a cup of coffee, a leash, and a poop bag and that I have a dog to walk! Those days that I’m critical, make bad food choices or think ill of persons who don’t agree with me, I can honestly say that I will try to do better tomorrow. I have a plan. A plan is hope.

There was a time my husband and I needed to increase our income. Did I mention I was a piano teacher? It was a long 10 years to reach our goal of funding an excellent education for our sons, but we had a plan. We took each day at a time. The extra work hours, forfeiting new possessions and the sharing of our endeavor strengthened each day. And, yes, we would do it again.

Goals must be flexible. My younger sister called me last August with the news that her precious 20 year old son was in the hospital. He had been running on the neighborhood track with my father, his grandfather, enjoying their time after a good fishing trip on Lake Ouachita. Lightening struck Adam- on an unclouded day with absolutely no warning. He did not make it. Her goal changed from praying for his happiness to “please, Lord, help me make it through today.”

Routine can be boring, it can be dreary, and it lacks the excitement of the alluring “unknown”. But I take comfort in trying to reach reasonable expectations each day, one at a time. We must seize the opportunities each moment brings, be thankful for the small things and celebrate at the end of the day. Pinot Noir for everyone!