Liz Mayer: Blushing Busker of Flemington, New Jersey, 2002
As told by John Lozier
In early 2002, Liz Mayer declared her quest as follows:
I, Liz Mayer, declare my quest to be to overcome my performance anxiety and play 25 times this year throughout my area. I have to look around and see who will allow me to play - but my ideas are to check to see if I can play for the hospital's nursery, some of the nursing homes and maybe a cafe or two! I also want to introduce the harp to some kids if I can too.
I know this doesn't sound as wonderful as everyone else's but for me this will be a BIG stretch. I simply freeze up whenever I know someone is listening to me!
If I can do this - I will be the Blushing Busker of Flemington NJ.
Later, she discovered the challenge was too great, but she didn't give up. She modified her quest as follows:
I find I am really too shy so I'm changing my declaration from 25 events to 25 people - so far I've played in front of 4 people. Which is really good for me. One time it was in public!!! I didn't freeze up !
Bravely continuing, she began to feel a greater sense of accomplishment:
I've been really trying to do little bits here and there for my quest. I put my harp pins in a basket with my brochure and set them up in my chiropractors office for a few weeks, but without results. Then, while visiting my Mom and Dad I met two little girls from next door. They saw my harp and were in awe. I played for them and then let them pick out pins. They couldn't chose just one so I let them have two apiece. You would have thought I gave them gold. I'm marking this one down as winner. My parents weren't impressed with my harp - but those two little girls made it all worth while.
Also - I went to Somerset and mentioned my quest and a lot of people seemed to know about Harping for Harmony.
Later, Liz reported again that her quest had taken twists and turns:
When I changed my quest in May, the title of Blushing Busker of Flemington really fit me. But now my quest really has taken a spiritual turn for me. I have met many people with health or family problems, deaths and sadness in their lives. They have told me of their problems and I have replied "I will play my harp for you". It was amazing, one particular week, how many people I came in touch with. People I know, but not well, acquaintances and strangers too. They would break down and say things like That is so kind and That means so much to me.
Someone I just knew from emails at work told me she was going in for a breast biopsy and was scared to death - I told her I was going to play my harp for her - she responded with such thanks that I told her I was going to ask the harp list to play for her - she sent me a reply of thanks and told her that I made her cry at work (in a good) way and that it meant so much to her. It was such a gift!
My harp meant more and more to me in the days when I had to give up lessons, a harp circle and most of my social life because of my nephew this year who is on a wrong path in life. I can still reach out via the internet, email and my harp to people.
In December, 2002, she concluded as follows:
So even though I have not played in front of many people this year, I have done much more. I have touched peoples hearts - at least 25 of them. No I have not "saved emails and documented" them because I thought that would make it more of an ego thing than what it was meant to be. So I don't know what I am or whether I fulfilled my quest. All I can say is in my small way with my harp I know that I made a few people feel a little better.
I wrote back with congratulations, telling her that her title was granted. But then, when I compiled the list of 2002 awards I somehow left her name off the list. So I didn't make her medallion that season. The entire story slipped my mind, till later.
Finally, more than a year later, her medallion is ready for presentation, in April, 2003. But her title is for 2002.
One thing I have learned from doing this Millennium Awards Program is that stories need to be told and retold. In order to do this, I need to listen. It is not enough to tell just our own stories. We also need to listen, and then retell inspiring stories we hear from other people. The story of the Blushing Busker of Flemington, NJ is just one example.
In the future, I will try to revisit and update each Millennium Harper story. I hope that other Millennium Harpers will also feel led to contribute new story information, their own or about other folks.