Friday, April 26, 2013

uʍop ǝpısdn

"Mrs. Henderson, I'm so nervous."

"You know your piano piece. . .you'll play beautifully!"

"Mrs. Parker, I brought an extra person to our dinner recital."

"We'll set another place at your table then."

Last Saturday the room was abuzz with students, their family and friends. Over 100 of us anticipated a delicious potluck supper and a smorgasbord of music, ranging from Beethoven to Elton John.  Some anticipated with butterflied-stomachs, others with growling stomachs.  Both were about to find relief.

Mallorie is front row in a shrimp and gray striped dress.
Music and food flowed beautifully.  When Mallorie performed, we clapped. As she passed my table back to hers, I said, "Good job!"

Without slowing her gait, she whispered back to me, "My music was upside down!"  I never noticed.

"Then you did a REALLY good job!" I praised.

We don't require our students to memorize because it happens naturally as they practice.  Tested and proven by Mallorie, her smile never diminishing.

I've laughed several times since over this.  I've also thought about it.

Sometimes life turns upside down.  We all experience those unexpected shifts and turns.   I've noticed peoples' reactions through the years.  

Some handle it better than others.  They get back up, adjust and grow from the circumstances.  Not overnight.  Not necessarily easily.  They have the tools and use them to change their lives as needed, to move on and up.

Others seem to never quite recover. They get stuck. They rehearse and repeat the upside-down events in their minds and to others until friends and family tire of listening.  They don't seem to glean and grow from hard times. Sometimes depression wraps chains around any hope of change or progress.  Blame, anger, hopelessness capture them. They feel trapped. They are!  

What's the difference?  We teach our piano students but also learn from them.  As I pondered Mallorie's performance last week, I drew some parallel lessons.

* Hard times reveal what's there.  Only Mallorie knew her music was upside down but she had worked on it for weeks to perform and she did. Character is not created in crisis but it is revealed.

* Practice is key.  Not only in music, but in life. It's important to practice the presence of the Lord.  He's the God of the good times before you know He can handle the bad times.

* Discipline is daily.  Practicing piano or being in the Word, conversing with God prepares us for the times when the music is upside down.  

* Everyone wants to play piano and be happy.  Not everyone wants to work to play piano and find joy.  It takes time, years.  Musicians and mature Christians are never instant.  

* Years alone do not develop us to play music or mature when things go upside down.  Some kids take lessons for years but ignore the 4 things above. That hour lesson is about all they invest weekly. Some Christians go to church regularly for years but never grow. That one hour doesn't sustain either. They substitute religion, sometimes even busy church activities, good works, but neglect their actual relationship with Christ.

* Know your part intimately.  Spending time with the music or the Lord builds in the security you may need one day. He alone knows what's ahead. Knowing Him, yourself and friends intimately prevents identity crises. Nurtured relationships sustain us when. . .

. . .our life's music is upside down!  Prepare now.  Recital might be anytime.

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