Yesterday was tough, disappointing and tiring. It was also exciting, cathartic and joyful.

I'm choosing to focus on the joyful part. When I saw how my hardworking student and her mother had prepared the refreshments table for her recital, my heart was lifted. They'll never know how much.

Something about that ritual, the one I've performed countless times for students whose names and faces are now blurred by time -- the one I can perform by heart, including the speech at the beginning, the silly story punctuated by repertoire and the encore bow at the end -- never fails to help me face the trials I am called to bear with renewed strength. And even with joy.