I've been thinking a lot about practice this week. Last Monday when I started singing (for real) again for the first time in a really long time, I thought about all the practice it would take to learn the music, to keep up with all the people who had been in this group so much longer than me, and to retain this spot that was so generously gifted to me.
I brought this book home last Monday night and played every song in it. I sang and sang and sang all those songs until my voice was tired and hoarse....for seven days straight. My hope was to learn every song perfectly so that by the next rehearsal I'd be able to hand back that giant book of music and say with confidence that I had memorized every song in it. That might have been slightly unrealistic...can you SEE how big that book is?? I kept hearing that little saying in my head, "practice makes perfect," so I kept practicing and waiting to achieve perfection. Apparently perfection takes longer than a week of practice.
This morning when I woke up I felt dread, fear, worry, doubt and frustration that I hadn't yet accomplished my goal of learning all of those songs. I let it creep into my entire day. Finally at 7:00 tonight, I sat down at the piano and tried to remember all the parts I had crammed into my head all week long. Only about 25% of them even sounded familiar. After a frustrating hour, I gave up, and fell into a discouraged heap on the floor of my closet and started praying for help. At first I prayed for help to know all the parts and all the words. And then somewhere in the middle of my pleading, I realized that I have practiced A LOT this week...not just a lot, but ENOUGH. So I stopped praying for a photographic memory and perfect pitch, and instead prayed that Heavenly Father would make up the difference between what I HAD and what I NEEDED tonight. And then I dragged myself to choir. It was a long, miserable drive.
But, miracles happened...I learned more music. I met more people. I knew more than I thought I did. And I didn't get kicked out. It was a really great night.
And most importantly, I realized that practice might not make us perfect as quickly as we would like, but it definitely makes us better. I was better tonight than I was last week. And I was good enough both weeks. Practicing makes me happy because I love the music, but when I let myself get carried away with ridiculously high goals, sometimes practice makes me crazy. This week, I'm going to relax a little more and just enjoy the practice. I'm going to look forward to going to choir again next week, and I'm going to look forward to being a little bit better than I was tonight.
I'm grateful for that gentle little shove I needed to get in my car and drive to choir tonight. I'm grateful for a kind Heavenly Father who puts all the right people in my path, who changes my perspective, and who makes up the difference when I need Him to. I love this music so much. I'm so grateful to have the time and the desire to spend my days practicing it.