Over the past 13 years, so many of us have invested much of ourselves towards this band. For some, there has never been a question of, “Will I be able to make this a priority in my life?” - Lloyd Johnson
Those have never wavered from doing what it took to keep this band as close as any other part of life. They are the center of the circle, the guide, where all others concentrate their focus. They remind us of our purpose.
There are some, regardless of their love and devotion to the band, who have needed time away; time to turn inward and take inventory of their personal lives. It may have resulted in a realization that right now, just for the moment, other things in life demand full attention. It may have been a time to refocus and recommit. Whatever the result, it is what is best for each of us at the time.
Above all, you should be content with the decision you have made. What you do with your time should always be a source of peace and self-assuredness that you are doing the right thing for yourself.
Something I have realized during my time away, is something so easy to do; something we are all so susceptible to if we aren’t careful. I realized how almost imperceptibly, something that means so much to you can be taken for granted. We always just assume it will always be there, like a monument of stone; immovable and permanent; something we can return to over and over, at any time we wish.
As time passes, more and more of us may allow this perception of permanence to infiltrate our thinking, then, before we know it, too many of us fall victim to it, leaving only those who never wavered; to rebuild, to start over. Again.
This year has certainly been another year of gratefulness, in terms of growth and forward motion for the band. So many have devoted themselves to becoming better players and better band members, moving up through the ranks of the band, and the performing world we compete in. Some made the all important step of just deciding to put themselves on the field of competition; to be vulnerable and adventurous; and in the process, probably experienced personal growth in ways they had never counted on or imagined.
With everything going so well in so many ways, it would be all too easy to sit back and rest on the laurels of our accomplishments. If we weren’t careful, we could even fall victim to taking the whole thing for granted.
We are the only ones who can keep this from happening. We are the only ones who can support our band’s leadership; who can commit to making our instructors proud through our dedication to the art and to our mission. Without this, we become something this band has never been; average.
Let’s continue on the path that has been laid before us, through the labor and never-ending encouragement of our leaders and teachers. Let’s stay the course, and continue to be the unique example we are to so many of our peers in the pipe and drum world.
Let’s endeavor to remain…steady on.
Lloyd Johnson is a Raleigh Firefighter, a bagpiper and founding band member.