On Sunday morning, I had the happy surprise of being ready for church long before we actually had to leave for church (that never happens) and I sat down to play the piano for awhile. I played a few favorites and then started playing a Christmas song that I had played the previous weekend for the Nativity. From the top of the stairs, Flowering Buttercup yelled, "Mommy, why are you practicing that? You already played it." (Our true character is always reflected in the things our kids say, isn't it? My kids are so used to hearing me only ever "cramming" for a special musical number that it throws them off a little to hear me playing just for fun. I'll have to fix that.) I resisted the urge to be offended by her comment and instead said, "Well, it's still December. You never know when you're going to be called to play a special musical number." She scoffed and went back into her
While we were at church, I got a text from the Ward Music Coordinator...
"I'm out of town this week, but I'm looking for a special musical number for the last Sunday of December. It's after Christmas, but we will still be doing Christmas music. Do you have anything ready?"Yep, I'm totally serious. When we got in the van, I read the text out loud to Flowering Buttercup and the rest of my kids who had over heard the earlier conversation. They were sufficiently impressed, I think. There was something about "super powers" and something about "predicting the future" and how did I think they would do on their finals next week?
This morning I sat down to play that song for a little while because I would like to avoid the procrastination/cramming technique I've tried in the past. I know this song. It's a challenge, but it's not impossible. When I just let the song play itself, it's beautiful, but when I'm glued to the page and check and double check every note, it sounds forced and mechanical, and oddly, I make more mistakes. This morning, I tried to just trust my fingers. A thought crossed my mind for a second, "Close your eyes and play it." What??? Are you kidding??? There's no way I can do that!! But I tried it...for about three measures. And guess what! Those three measures were more beautiful and perfect than I've ever played them before. But then fear and doubt took over and I had to open my eyes. ugh... The rest of the practice session was a mess.
For a second I thought about Peter trying to walk on the water and struggling. "And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" Matthew 14:31
There are things that I KNOW for sure just like I KNOW those notes on that music. But every now and then, I feel like Peter. I feel the wind whipping around me and the boisterous waves, and I start to worry that I probably should get back to the safety of the boat before I drown.
And then I thought about the FEW times I've actually surrendered my compulsion to be "glued to the notes" in my life, and just let Heavenly Father take over. I did that once when I gave a talk. I did it when we moved to Texas. And I've found that the most beautifully, unexpected joys in my life have come during those times when I was definitely NOT in control. What would life be like if I closed my eyes more often and just let the music play itself? How much more unexpected joy is out there waiting for me to stop doubting and just trust?