Thursday, April 28, 2011

Do you know all your notes?

The last concert of the year is quickly approaching and judging by the commitment to practice and dedication to apply the weekly instructions of the violin teacher, it seems like parents are the only ones feeling the pressure to perfect the performance.

Every day I work hard on biting my tongue to keep myself from nagging incessantly. Finally, I decide that a more indirect approach might be more effective:

Does everyone know the notes of their solos and group piece in preparation for the concert? I ask my son, trying not to sound too obvious.

Yes, we all know them. He answers casually, dragging the rosin against the bow.

At least we are beyond step one, I think as I sigh a big sigh of relief. Perhaps there is hope…

Well, maybe all of us but L.
He adds, after thinking a little… L. is a beautiful, tender-hearted girl in his small violin class who also suffers from a mild form of autism. Her presence and participation in the violin class has been a tremendous blessing to all our children as they learn that playing their violins together goes beyond producing the right notes at the same time. Over the years, mutual encouragement, love, grace and patience, alongside giving your own personal best have become much weightier factors in preparation for performing in a concert.

Actually, she does know all the notes, he explains, but when she plays she transfers them into different notes, and then she takes out some notes and adds new ones. But, other than that, she knows all the notes.

I stare at him in amazement, wondering at his ability to affirm beyond what is audible. For I know that I would be the first one to point out all the notes played incorrectly, to notice every missing note and get annoyed at every added note to a familiar classic. My heart is both weighed and warmed by the stark contrast and I ask God to give me the extra ear to hear what he hears, to have the grace that knows and loves beyond performance, that listens not to imperfect notes we are producing but to the longing of the heart beyond what is seen and heard.

He goes back to practicing Minuet No. 2 while in between the notes I think I can overhear a conversation, from an altogether different realm, discussing the way I play the solo of my own life:

Well… actually, G. does know all the notes, but when she plays the solo of her life, sometimes she transfers them into different notes… and she is known to forget some notes and add her own new ones… But, other than that, she knows her piece…

And grace, and patience, and love enter again along with the assurance that all the vagrant notes will one day find their home in Him.

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ John 1:17


Phyllis said...

I love your perspective on this, and C's too, for that matter. I guess my prayer for myself should be that I play more of the notes I know instead of missing them again and again. Praise God for His forgiveness, though, when we do miss notes we already know. . .

Barrows said...

I have been wondering what was happening, and now I know. You love your family and accept each other, even though not always perfect. So, thank you for being you.

His Writer said...

Thank you for your encouraging words - both of you! I love when Jesus says: "This is My commandment,that you love one another, just as I have loved you." My job is to know and experience His love first, and then reflect it to the people around me... nothing more! Nothing less!