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Archive for April, 2010

Two weeks ago, a member of my ward called and asked me to play the organ for the stake choir for Stake Conference. It was kind of thrown at me so quickly, that I responded yes without thinking of what it would really entail. I naively hoped that we would sing a couple of simple hymns and my contribution would be easy and painless.

When I got the music, my heart dropped. One song was massive, big, and HARD. I haven’t really played the organ in 5 years and suddenly I was going to be playing for a choir with a director who has an opera company? Then I just started to feel sick.

The first two practices with the choir were disasters. I had practiced, but not to tempo and so I fell behind. I was playing with another person, so that was a relief, but it was just a lot to do.

So I stepped up my practicing. And my family carried me. My husband watched our children when I went to the church to play. My children prayed for me. They sacrificed time with me so I could practice. My mother prayed for me. She put my name on the temple roll. I prayed diligently. My husband prayed for me.

This morning, I arrived at the church at 7:30 a.m. to practice. And a miracle happened. My fellow organist and I were able to keep up with the director, we adjusted tempo, volume, pulled stops and pushed pedals. I started to feel a little less scared. After we practiced, the choir went into another room to fine tune some points and I followed. As I sat there, contemplating the music, I felt like angels would be there, helping us as the choir sang and as we played.

As we waited to actually perform the piece in stake conference, I felt calm and peaceful. We sat down on the bench, pushed buttons, played notes, pulled stops, pressed pedals and music came soaring from the organ and choir. I can’t even tell you how we sounded, so intent was I on playing. But I can say that I was carried through both pieces. My fingers moved smoothly and in time with the director and my heart swelled with the beauty of the message.

Sometimes I think we become afraid to take on new challenges, callings, or even experiences because of our weaknesses and fear. But when we do, we often miss out on being carried by family, God, and even friends. That’s a shame, because being carried feels safe.

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The Weekend Aftermath

Yesterday I walked through my house surveying the damage from 6 days of spring break and a weekend without church. Part of me wanted to cry in frustration about the mess. The other part rejoiced in all the living that was done.

Books are scattered on the floor of the study. Crayons, pencils, scissors and paper are in a heap beside the bookcase. I’m glad that my children have lots of books to read and feel free to do so at any time. I’m thrilled that my daughter likes to draw and color.

Soccer cleats, balls, helmets and shoes co-mingle with wild abandon. I’m glad that my children have room to play soccer, ride bikes and that the weather is beautiful.

My kitchen is still messy. Most of the dishes are clean, but the floor hasn’t been swept and there are a few pots and pans that need to be scrubbed. I’m grateful that we enjoyed such a delicious Easter dinner. And I’m even more grateful that my husband did most of the work.

The kids’ bedrooms look like a toy bomb went off. I’m glad that they spent time in their rooms, playing with their toys, utilizing their imaginations and having fun with friends.

The sink in the bathroom is crusty. At least the kids are more diligent about brushing their teeth. And if it takes having blue stains from Agent Code Blue to help them brush better and avoid cavities, I’ll take it!

I guess it is all about perspective. We did have a relaxing Spring break. Cleaning up after these messes isn’t so bad, when I remember that my house is supposed to be a place where people live and not a museum.

Tell me what the messes in your homes say about your lives?

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Angry Ugliness

A week ago, my husband and I were standing in the parking lot of Ikea, loading our purchases in the car. We heard a woman shouting in an extremely ugly manner to someone. Her tone was cruel, her words unrepeatable. When I looked around, I realized she was shouting at her son, who was probably 10 years old. Her words began to take an even more foul direction and I felt like throwing up. She berated him and called him names. And he ran around, trying to do her bidding, but not succeeding at all. I was grateful to leave, but my heart hurt for that little boy who had to sit in the car with his angry mother and hear more verbal abuse. I wanted to do something, but what could you do? If I confronted the woman, she most likely would have taken out her rising anger on her son. And so I walked away. I’ve felt guilty about it ever since.

Have you ever had a similar experience? What did you do?

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