A couple of nights ago, I hosted a night of nights. I sat on the stage of the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House and ate dinner. I was surrounded by competition winners and by some fabulous Sydney Opera House members. I sat on a platform that has been made great by some of the most passionate souls the modern era has seen: the likes of Pavarotti, Sir Simon Rattle, Fleet Foxes, Colin Stetson, Stephen Fry and Louis CK. You may not think they’re equally talented, but talent is subjective anyway. These are souls which seem(ed) to effervesce with the power of their obsession. You may not think they’re equally talented, but talent is subjective anyway.
But this isn’t a blog post about dinner or celebrity. It’s because of two moments that occurred within that short blink of my life.
Halfway through the meal, I was into the flow of being hostess. I’d stopped worrying about if my hair was okay and if I was holding myself appropriately. I had stopped worrying about the dynamic of the table. I let it go and trusted in the process. And at the moment, as I relaxed, I forgot not only the responsibility but also the context. I let go so much that I forgot that my feet were resting on a wooden floor upon which many an artist dreams of standing. I was adding my voice to acoustics that some will never hear. Instead of achieving something great, I’d taken a step too far in the wrong direction. So, for a quiet second, I sat back and looked at each face around my table. They were all relatively new faces in my world but, from now on, we share a precious currency of a memory. I sat back and glanced at my surroundings and I smiled. For all the photos that I take, those images in my mind’s eye will never leave me.
At the end of the night, I bade everyone farewell from the stage. The gratitude was not mine to accept but towards me it flowed, making my cheeks ache with its smile. I saw people float and dance and sing their way out, all imbued with a little of the venue’s magic and beauty. And as the last table lingered to soak up the last seconds, the competition winner turned to me and said words I’ll never forget: ‘I didn’t bring my closest friends. I brought the people who I knew would appreciate it the most.’ There was so much in that statement, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to unpack it all. It made me feel respect for her openness, sad that her friends weren’t the most grateful companions she had, and happy that she had valued the experience so much. I glanced at her guests and they weren’t the slightest bit disappointed to not be classed as ‘her closest friends’. They knew what they had experienced and they made it as special as it deserved to be. But it did make me wonder at who we choose to hold closest to us and what world it therefore creates.
I consider myself blessed that I experienced such a beautiful night. I consider myself blessed all the more for it teaching me yet more.
(for photos, head to http://wp.me/p32JIu-i8)