Saturday, November 1, 2008

Practice Makes Perfect

Twenty years ago I could play the piano.

Yes, I took lessons and did accomplish a 4th grade diploma in the Royal Conservatory of Music (that's actually pretty high). Yes, I took part in recitals and dallied in a garage band. But, more than that, I could sit at the piano, look at a piece of music and play it after only a few minutes of study. My teachers always commented on my natural talent; fellow music students expressed their envy of my abilities.

Then I quit.

Just stopped playing the piano altogether. There were better things to do with my time than sitting at the keyboard (none of these better things fit into the category of godly pursuits - and that is the most detail I will put into that). But, I found no joy in the playing - it came too easy without a purpose. My vanity in the ease of playing led me to walk away.

Now, at 30-something, I am trying to teach my daughter to appreciate the natural talent she appears to have at the keyboard. Problem is, I can't just sit and play anymore. Now, with the obvious loss of a multitude of brain cells, I must sit and study and practice - and then study some more. I even became excited one day at a thrift shop because I found some Royal Conservatory of Music books, "Great! This will help me get back on the horse." Not quite that easy. Not easy at all.

How can something that was second nature to me then be so foreign to me now! The notes that my eyes recognize just won't come out of my fingers like they used to come out.

I started to think that this isn't just about age, although that does have something to do with it. More than that, it is about what I put my energy into. The things that come naturally to me are still things that I practice simply by repeatedly doing them. I played the piano everyday, sometimes several times a day. But this isn't just about playing an instument.

This can also be applied to behaviours. I can be pretty good at grumbling and complaining because I repeatedly did it over the years - practiced it we could say. In the book of Proverbs we can read about women who are brash, argumentative and just plain nasty and it reminds me of how easy it is to be that woman because I have practiced these traits over the years. Thankfully these days, because God has shown me my sin, I have seent the need to practice NOT grumbling and complaining and NOT being the nasty woman described in Proverbs. It is only with this practicing that I will ever be the Proverbs 31 woman - the Ruby.

As a closing note (no pun intended) the piano is coming, very slowly, with a lot of retraining. My husband has commented a few times about enjoying the hymns that are now recognizable.

So now, even with the hard work to re-learn this skill (or maybe because of the hard work), we have determined that our piano and the music that comes from it will be to His glory. I can no longer accomplish this skill in and of myself, now I can heartily give the glory to God for any and every achievement made at the keyboard. That is the only way to succeed in all areas of my life as a child of the King.

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.
Serve the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful singing.
Psalm 100: 1& 2

1 comment:

Mrs. Parunak said...

What a great point! I guess everything we do is really practice. Whatever we do at any given time, we'll be more likely to do later, so when I'm tempted to be grumpy, I should ask myself if I want a life characterized by well-practiced grumpiness or by forgiveness and longsuffering.