One year ago today, I was walking through the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition centre, literally shaking with excitement, and with a stomach full of butterflies.
That morning at 4am, I had packed my family into the car, leaving our regional sea side town for the weekend.
Though it was a beautiful place to live (pictured below), I was excited to be driving toward a city again.
It was the first time I had left my young baby to go on a date. My husband insisted my sister/babysitter only contact him, so I could concentrate fully on my first ever Josh Groban concert.
The concert was amazing, it was everything I had been looking forward to since I first listened to the Stages album.
Only, the experience was such a high, the low afterwards, and saying goodbye to the city, was honestly hard to bear.
At the time, I was living in regional Australia, away from my family and friends. I was lonely most of the time, and didn’t get many breaks from my children. The few friends I did have, I didn’t see often.
Driving home through the quiet landscape away from the city reminded me of the barren year ahead. The one thing I had been looking forward to for months was over, and I still had a year till we were to head home.
The sun was setting about an hour out from our home. I asked my husband to quickly pull over on some train tracks and I took a picture on my camera.
That one act of creativity filled me with so much hope, and I immediately wrote down the experience to share with Josh Groban’s non-profit, Find Your Light. He spoke about this wonderful organisation he founded at the concert, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
The next hour went by, and I spent it happily writing down how the arts gave me hope, and how I wanted others to enjoy this feeling, particularly young children and teenagers (the age group FYL support with their programs.)
For weeks after this experience, I had this energy bubbling inside me. I wanted do something, but I had no idea what.
I eventually contacted Find Your Light. I asked their permission to start a supportive project, where I would talk to people about the arts and write about it, promoting their cause as I did this.
I’m not always confident speaking to people, though if comfortable, I’m good at. I’m also fairly introverted. Suddenly, I had something I cared about enough to get me out of my social anxiety bubble.
Not everyone responded to my requests, but even sending them was a huge step for me. The people I did interview were amazing and inspiring.
I also got to know many of the other Josh Groban fans in this time. They contributed thoughts for my articles, and after a while we became friends, not just fans sharing the same online space.
We now share each other’s lows and highs. Sickness, loss, trips away…everything.
I wish I could convey to them adequately what their support of me, and of my project, means to me.
Suddenly, things in Central Queensland became less lonely, and I started to become more confident.
I had something to hope for.
I was writing articles once or twice a month (most are still on our old website), and I felt like in some small way, I was helping other people, and focusing less on myself.
Finally, I have been privileged to follow the journey Find Your Light has been taking. I’m always sending too many messages to their social media superhero, because I’m honestly so impressed with their efforts and hard work, I want to tell them about it ALL the time.
I always appreciate their kind responses to this weird woman from Australia.
There was something symbolic about the train tracks that day. I didn’t know where the journey would take me from the second I took that photo, but I feel blessed every day that I took it.
Life since then has been hugely transitional, and not always easy, but I’m reminded of a hopeful song Josh slayed that night in Brisbane.
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
I haven’t walked alone, and that is a valuable gift. I wanted you to know this.
Thank you everyone for a fantastic year, and I look forward to what is to come. I can’t wait to see the fans continue to fund-raise for Find Your Light. We’re good at it, so let’s smash it!
Love, Carolyn. Xx