This is hard to keep up with! I do love to write...unfortunately many things stay in my head. Crowding stuff! Here's a little blogella.
I never learned how to read or play music. I took a little bit of guitar and sang in chorus, but never learned how to read music. In fact, thinking back, I suppose I faked it a bit in chorus because we did those "sight reading" things and I just pretended. Interesting. So, like any Mom trying to redeem her own childhood, my children are learning to read music. As many of you know we've played the tin whistle a bit, and we are now taking recorder classes. Feel free to hum Hot Cross Buns right about...now. Isn't that the only thing most of us learned? It makes me giggle. So, I did buy myself a recorder, just like I bought myself a tin whistle. I'm going to learn, too!
The nights that I remember for all of us to practice is fun for me. The kids want to hear themselves play, but I want to play, too! One evening I noticed that Julia was blowing with her cheeks, which meant that she wasn't using her tongue to stop the notes, but her breath. I gently corrected her and we moved on. She is really good at recognizing the notes and playing them properly. She sits up straight, left hand on top...she's good.
A few days later at practice I looked up at her and got a sneaking suspicion that she wasn't playing. I crawled over to her chair to listen and guess what, "I was right!" She wasn't blowing. She was sitting straight up, hands properly positioned on the recorder, looking straight at her Coach, and...nothing. I leaned in and said, "Play, Jules. Play." She shook her head and began to blow.
Hmmmm. There are many places I could go with this. First I am thinking I want to be sure that I don't freak my kids out to the point of not playing. Julia is a perfectionist and I can imagine that she didn't want to make a mistake and be "found out." I need to be sure that she knows screwing up is part of the rules! That's why there is Jesus. So, there's the mental note of parenting, then there is this...
I know the right things to do. I know the right things to say. However, sometimes my heart isn't fully engaged. I'm just not playing. Sometimes when people make comments about me that are very kind, I just think, "You have no idea. That I wasn't even playing that day you saw me." I don't want to be like that. You know what folks like that are called? Jesus called them Pharisees. We call them hypocrites. Our minds are engaged but our hearts are out to lunch, maybe even reviewing our scripture memory for all the world to see.
So, here's the thing. It happens. We just flip into auto pilot and we stay there. We look the part. We show up, we sing, we know the verbage, but our hearts are far. So, do we quit? Do we stop taking recorder? You may have a different answer, but I simply repented. I asked the Lord to change my heart and help me to be engaged. Help me to play. Help me to play even if I am holding a whole note while everyone else is playing a quarter note. Help me play even if I'm playing G when everyone else is playing B. God, just let me play.
It's an absolute privilege to be used by God in any capacity. I don't want to fake it. I want to play. I don't have to be first chair. I just want to make some noise for His glory and in His name. I think He's OK with that. I'm thankful, because nothing brings me more joy than playing for Him.
How about you? Is your head in the game? Or your heart?
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
***I wrote this several days ago and have been unsure of whether I should post it. More than anything I never want anyone to misunderstand my struggle. I never want anyone to think I'm not grateful or thankful for this life, my life, that I've been given. However, this is something I deal with, a wound that runs deep that effects me in many ways. So, I hope this Cup helps you get to know me, and maybe help you. Blessings,
It was glorious! Cold on the outside, but all bundled up we were warm beneath our layers. Warm enough to stay in the snow for several hours laughing and playing with our family. This was our year to head up north for Christmas. My husband's entire family is about 2 hours from my Dad and Pam, so we take 10 days (sometimes more, sometimes less) and visit our family. This year we followed the blizzard, so where we weren't stuck in the snow, we were stuck on the road. Mike stuck it out 16 hours and we finally talked our van up Dad's newly shoveled driveway. We were thrilled!
My sister and her family made their way to Dad's the next day and she came bearing all of the gear necessary to endure the cold. Georgia cold is different from Pennsylvania cold, and so are the necessities. We needed gear that could get wet. She didn't let us down! Everyone looked adorable! The first day I remember saying, "This is the day we'll remember." It was one of those days that just treats you. The attitudes were grateful, the company... family...functioning...everyone was involved, laughing. I love thinking about it. Yet, in the bottom of my heart I felt a twinge of sadness. Not everyone was there. Strange. Count them up...yes, we are here indeed. Hm.
The next day we headed out again. The track for the sled was a bit icy, so the ride was faster...better. It was sweet. Ella, the shortest of the small ones, needed to go inside...too late. Durn. I better get her changed. I wasn't sure what to do so I stripped her down and set her inside the door so I could remove my shoes. I heard his voice, alarmed and booming...my mind became rattled and I was very young again. He was scared because he didn't see me, and only a naked Ella. A naked Ella and a VERY large puppy scared him. He didn't mean to scare me. He only reacted. So did I. Ella was worked up I pulled her from my sister and headed upstairs, hot and upset, to get her cleaned up and dressed. She wouldn't stop crying. Then I couldn't stop. "Why are you crying? Stop!" She begged me. It was too late, the scab had been pulled and my wounded heart was bleeding. She began using her sleeves to dry my eyes, I couldn't pull it together and I wasn't sure why. I couldn't stop the tears. The tears ran from my eyes and I couldn't help but think my heart was bleeding harder. My broken, 5 year old heart. What happened?
I knew if I stayed upstairs it wouldn't get better. I pulled it together as best I could and headed downstairs. He immediately came to me. "What's the matter?" He always gets nervous around tears. "Nothing. It's just dumb." "No, tell me...what is the matter?" I looked at him, he's always been so strong to me. So big. Now that his hair is gray I realize that he was only human afterall. His eyes are blue like my brother and sister...mine green like my mother. I cry now, thinking of that moment. "It's just that, it's just that sometimes I'm really happy with the way things turned out and sometimes, sometimes I'm just really sad. Today, I'm really sad." I tried to explain through my stifled cry, tears burning through my swollen eyes that I wanted her to enjoy this day. She is far from the snow. Far from this life. Always, everything was always so far. He was far from the heat. From the daily grind...from the birthdays, the proms...I didn't know he was human. I didn't know he knew he was far. "What do you mean?" He tried not to roar, he knows I'm the sensitive one. "She's always welcome here, call her." "I don't want her." I tried to explain. I just didn't want the distance anymore. "I'll be fine." I felt like I needed a bandage. Like any minute someone would notice that my clothes were bloodstained from years of being fine. I'm not fine. I'm broken. This is broken.
There was a cordial quietness for the remainder of the day. Words had been spoken. Not foolish or cruel, but honest and real. Those are the hardest to move. They will not fit inside a drawer or file folder. They cannot be cleaned off or out of the ears that they fell on. They remain, lingering, begging to be handled carefully. Darkness fell early, as it does this time of year and I was walking through the kitchen. I couldn't help but grabbing him, pulling him near and apologizing for "freaking out." "It's O.K honey", he whispered. "No one likes it, but it's something we have to get over." I laughed. Really? Get over it? He noticed the unspoken words and revised, "Get through it." I think he was bleeding too.
All this time. I didn't know it. All this time I thought we were the only humans. I was wrong.
I hesitate always in sharing how difficult divorce is on me. I hesitate because from the bitter fruit there was a sweetness. The sweetness has a name...new family. My step-parents, my sisters...God, in His goodness didn't leave us stranded and alone. I never want those people who would have never been included in my life had things not happened the way they did to feel as though I don't love them or cherish their love in my life. It's a double edged sword. Longing for what never was, yet never in a million years being willing to trade what is. How do you deal with that emotion? It's a secret (or it was...thanks internet) that as children we stuff down. We tell ourselves that it is what it is...suck it up. Then we have children.
This has been an incredible year. We have enjoyed many wonderful trips as a family. This November I said to Mike, "You four do not realize how good you have it." He was a bit confused until I explained further..."you enjoy this like everyone has this. Everyone has family vacations full of books and laughter. Not so." My heart is sad for what the 5 people missed. Our lives are full, again, I hesitate...but it is, well, broken. Deep. Only a Savior can stop the bleeding. Good thing that I know such a Savior. Even better that my Savior knows me.