I got my song back. I thought Gloria was harder on me than on the rest of the people in the class. I have to rewrite my song. But maybe their songs were farther along. And I remember something else that is my hope. If it is not true, then I would rather not know right now. I remember the assistant choir director asking me at the end of eighth grade, "Do you think I hate you?"
My true answer would have been yes. How she could have known this I cannot guess. But I suddenly felt such a compassion for her that I could not admit it. I had said when I had heard so many bad things about her the year before that they could not be true. How could I think those very things now?
"No," I said.
"The only reason I push you so hard," she said, "is because I think you can do well. I think you might be able to go to state when you're in high school. I want you to."
I never did sing in the state choir, or even the region choir. Her words touched me on that sunny afternoon, but I pushed them to the back of my mind soon. I thought I had forgotten them. Yet they have come back at a time when I wondered if I could ever write again. That may seem like a crazy and exaggerated way to react to the very feedback I said I wanted, but that is how I reacted. And here is a possible answer, a hopeful answer.
"This is a great chorus," Gloria told me, "but you let me down on the last line." Maybe I did. Maybe she knows I can write better than I did this time. Maybe she wanted to make me realize that. So I see this as a challenge that can and will bring out my very best. I pray that God will help me to answer it well.