I’m Speechless…Literally!!!

So I had been bothered by a little soreness in my throat for about a week…nothing serious. I still mangaged to sing some new demo ideas for my upcoming sophomore CD, as well as perform my duties for my regular animation and TV voice-overs. Commercial voice-over work is how I support my music habit…until my music habit hopefully grows up, moves out, gets an apartment, and takes care of itself. If you’re in Canada or you’re a YouTube® user, you might have heard my “dulcit tones” as that ubiquitous singing Mini-Wheat®. Yeah, that’s me…hey don’t laugh – it pays the bills! Anyway, last night my voice started faltering a bit. Nothing a little extra sleep wouldn’t fix, right? WRONG!

Much to my horror, I woke up this morning and had lost my voice…not completely but almost. Now, for a guy whose whole music career had to virtually be shelved for several years due to a chronic voice disorder (Muscle Tension Dysphonia, or MTD), one would thing I am used to this sort of thing. Well, yes I WAS used to this sort of thing back when I was struggling with MTD. But these days, thanks to a BRILLIANT voice therapist (who also works on people like Sting and Mick Jagger), I have progressed to to a point where I feel I’m singing (and speaking) with more confidence and endurance than ever.

And in the blink of an eye (or 40 winks of two eyes), I have been stripped of the voice I have worked so hard to rebuild. Now there is no need to worry – it has been diagnosed as acute (viral) laryngitis. I should be back in the voice booth in 4 or 5 days. But this situation got me thinking…thinking about how nothing is for certain. No matter how hard we may try; no matter how driven we are; no matter how much we want something; at any moment fate can step in and take it all away.

Again, this is a passing thing. I will be singing and doing voice-overs again in no time. But what if I had lost my voice permanently? What then? I rely on my voice for my livelihood. Without it, I am pretty much qualified to flip burgers or deliver newspapers (not that there’s anything wrong with that). But seriously, I don’t have too many other employment options that don’t involve the use of my voice. Did I abuse my voice? No, quite the opposite. I am dilligent in the care of my voice. Did I take it for granted? Not at all. I thank God every day for being able to do what I do. And yet still, it can all be gone in a snap.

I guess that lesson applies to anything in life that we hold dear…be it family, friend, occupation, passtime, possession. We are always told not to take things or people for granted. And that’s sound advice. But the question is, what do we do if, despite heeding this advice, we still have what we love taken from us?

Not everything in this life can be covered by an insurance policy. In fact nothing of true personal (emotional) value can be. So what options do we have? Unfortunately, just one from what I can see…acceptance. As cliché as they are, and as carefree as they sound, expressions such as “c’est la vie” and “que será será” still ring true. We can never get too comfortable with or attached to the current state of affairs, because life may very well have other plans for us. The great John Lennon hit the nail on the head when he sang, “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

With that in mind, I would probably be wise to practice flipping a few burgers and tossing some newspapers…just in case.


19 / June / 2008  English   

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