Guess who called me?
The hospital that I birthed Daniel at!
Most of you will remember the testimony of what God did during Daniel’s birth, but for those who do not know, the short of it is; towards the end of my labor, during my worst contraction, I sang a worship song and it eased my pain! I wasn’t planning to sing, but when I went to open my mouth I suddenly felt the desire to sing instead of moan in pain and although my contractions continued to bring a lot of pain, singing helped ease it and kept me focused on God.
This was truly amazing for the staff to watch and hear and caused them to ask how I could sing while in labor. (I even ask myself this question!!) The singing was a testimony to the staff of my God’s peace, power, and ability to help a person in need.
After this happened, I told the Father that I would walk through any doors He might open with this hospital for relationship building.
Now, 19 months later, they called and said something like this; “Since you like to sing, we want you to come to the TV station with us and sing for our program.”
I quickly responded with, “No, no, I don’t sing.” I am a shower singer, a back row singer…not an on stage, in public, at the TV studio singer!!
Of course they reassured me that indeed I do sing (how kind of them to inform me) and to please bring my children with me, so we can all enjoy their program.
Tis the life of a foreigner in China. Unless you have more back bone than me, you might find yourself in the most odd places doing some odd things to appease friends. It can be fun and overwhelming.
I found myself Tuesday morning standing in line, having consented to sing with Lily’s help during the hospital’s program. Still, having an unclear understanding of what I was doing, I followed the only other English speaking person, a nurse from the hospital, who was gracious and translated for me.
The group of women who also came on buses, foot, and bicycles to watch the program soon filled into the TV studio to be the audience of about 30-50 people. I was told to stand in a line with the others who had (what I thought) volunteered to sing. I really had no idea of what was happening, I was just following my translator and rehearsing in my head what I would say in Chinese to the audience in case I was asked about my delivery.
While waiting in line the nurse called me by name, she is also a nurse at the hospital, although was not working when I delivered Daniel. Once she said my name, the pregnant lady standing directly next to us, whips around and exclaims in her most enthusiastic voice, “You’re Jenny? THE singing Jenny?!?!?!”
I’m dumbfounded and speechless.
The nurse says to me, “You’re famous at the hospital! We tell everyone how you sang, you’re quite famous.”
Speechless. Is this really happening to me?
I’m given a sticker with a number on it to put on my chest. I think this is a bit odd and wonder why I would need it for what I assume is a karaoke program of sorts, but still no one really explains what is happening or perhaps my minimal Chinese has fooled them enough to believe that I actually understand what is being said by the workers at the TV station! Once again I regret being a language faker!
I follow the line into the TV studio and look in wonderment at all the lights, cameras, and wires.
Lily has fallen in love with a Veggie Tale movie titled, “Princess and the Pop Star” I used the skills of a mother and the addiction of a Veggie Tale to get her really excited about singing in front of all those attending. She ate it up like cake. Wait a second, Lily doesn’t like cake. She ate it up like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!
All my rehearsing what I was going to say in Chinese was in vain though. Minutes before it was my turn to go forward the nurse whispers to me, “Speak in English, they want me to translate.”
Speak in English? I had no idea what I was going to say in English! I memorized my script in Chinese and switching like that, last minute, really threw me for a loop.
Breathe. Hand it over to God. It can’t get any worse can it? CAN IT?!
No, it didn’t. Whew!
Lily and I walked up in front of the cameras with the nurse, I fumble by speaking in Chinese instead of English and then switch over to English. The host tells me that the show is aired all over the world and I smile really big acting like perhaps I knew this, but really, I didn’t even know I would be on a “talk show” setting. I thought I was just one act of many in a program of sorts. I didn’t know there was going to be this fashionable young male and female host talking to me from their table, I thought they would be introducing acts and MC “ing” the show like they do for Spring Festival.
I answer their few questions about where I am from and then am given the okay to start singing.
I bend down to Lily’s level and we sing “Jesus Loves Me” partly in English and the chorus in Chinese. After the song Lily sings a little tune, words that I don’t understand and probably no one else does, but it sounds cute.
I stand up and wait. The female host makes a big fuss out of Lily and then they ask me, “How do you feel about your performance?”
Um…how do I feel? Performance? Am I suppose to care how I feel? I thought this was like a karaoke program of sorts thing; everyone knows you’re not great, but you’re all having fun doing it, right? I just smile and say “So, so” and shrug my shoulders.
They then say something rapidly in Chinese and I only pick up on “Will give you a phone call” I smile and say “Okay!” but I’m thinking, “Why, why would they call me? I hope they don’t want me to return!”
I walk out of the room and am ushered down the hallway to do an interview. The same kind of questions come up, “How do you feel about your performance?” Again, I’m speechless, perplexed at this question and how I’m suppose to answer it.
Then I sit down for my box lunch and all the pieces of the puzzle fall together. You see, as I’m sitting there feeding lunch to Lily, I hear them ask the same questions to all the other singers (whom I might add are really good singers) and tell them they will call them.
The puzzle pieces are coming together and I realize that I was in a singing competition! (My Chinese friend later confirms it when I tell her the story.) I am so embarrassed.
Can I please move back to America?!
When the nurse returns to find me to thank me and tell me I can go home, she also says, “I can let you know when the show will air so you can watch it!”
No,No,No…No thanks…I’m humiliated enough! No need to watch it!!
Singing competition?! ME? In a singing competition?
What. did. I. get. myself. into?
On a note (no pun intended) of trying to keep perspective in all things; if just one person watching that show realizes that Jesus loves them and it changes their life for eternity, then it was worth it. Yes, worth every part of the embarrassment and silliness of the whole thing!
UPDATE Jan. 2014:
More than a year after writing this blog I received a video clip of our performance. It took me several months to actually view it. I think I was just too scared and embarrassed to hear myself stumble over my awful Chinese and sing. And now, it has taken me several months to get enough guts to post it on here.
I don’t know. It’s just so weird when I think that I was actually on a Chinese show, singing. Unknowingly on a singing competition. It’s just weird people. Weird.
Without further ado, here are two clips that somewhat overlap, but give you the opportunity to hear for yourself the above story in action.