I’m pretty useless at piano playing. When I say this, people seem to think I’m showing some false modesty – presumably due to all those who say they are useless when they are anything but useless. Usually they can play twenty times better than me. Please note: there’s a difference between not being able to play as opposed to not playing as well as you’d like. Claiming the former when you are actually the latter causes problems for us who are genuine strugglers. After some to-and-froing – ‘I bet you can play really’, ‘no, really I can’t’ (several times) I have to explain that I barely got further than grade 1 and even then never took any exams. The piano can lie shut for months. We have a piano because someone else didn’t want it, not because I am any good at playing it. I hope to play it. In order to learn an easy piece I have to play it over and over and over…and still make mistakes.
Nevertheless, in spite of my clumsiness, the fumblings, the wrong notes, the elongated notes of the right hand because I’m trying to think what to do with my left…I can still recognise Moonlight, and that makes me smile.
Is there an analogy here that needs unpacking?
Frequently in our lives we hit wrong notes. We make mistakes. We mess it all up in our attempts to be clever or because we’re being inattentive. We neglect to practise and then wonder why we can’t play the tune. But the tune is still there. We are in the constant process of transformation. Sometimes we can think we are doing so well, and then something disastrous happens and we lose our thread completely. Every day we begin again, with a sigh of relief that his mercies are ‘new every morning’.
Every now and then, amid the stumbling and the fumbling, the over confidence and the giving up we recognise something – God’s melody in our lives. We can’t yet play it perfectly, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. For that spine tingling moment when the bit we get wrong most of the time we manage to play right. For the times when we realise – there is some improvement there.
But always and always recognising grace. That God still wants to hear our music, even if we haven’t quite ‘got it’ yet. Our fumbling attempts at loving and worshipping and living are all part of the transformation.
Don’t stop playing. One day you’ll be part of the biggest orchestra ever known.
Image from stock.xcng