March 24, 2010

Learning the Cello...a lesson in Patience!

I just got back from my weekly cello lesson. I have to tell you that the cello is not the easiest instrument to learn to play. It takes so much work, so much thinking, so much fingering skill. Agh! I am really pleased with my progress, however. I wish I could play better, but I think overall, I am getting the main points of it, and with daily practice, will be able to accomplish my goal (of playing at church or in a small group/ensemble).

Today, I worked on two Schumann pieces. They are from the Strictly Classics Book 2 series. They both required a great deal of pinky use. My pinky finger has a good callous on it, but it has a slight crack in it from dryness (I think). Anyhoo, I think it will be ok, just needs a little rest. I was really pleased with my ability to play both these pieces. They are not easy pieces, but I did it! Hooray! I also played through Strauss' Emperor Waltz and Handel's Bourree. Overall, I would grade my performance at a C+. I would like to be in the A range, but I am still struggling with hitting the correct notes. As I mentioned to my teacher, on the piano, when you play C, you always get a C. On a stringed instrument, when you play C, unless you are right on, you get C# or Bb. You really have to hit the string right on target and with the right amount of pressure.

So much to remember. But, I still love the cello. I am having a ball learning how to play it and know that in time I will indeed be able to say, "I can play the cello well."

Update: on my plans. I am now convinced of the plans the Lord has for me. Funny, how that is...one day you are completely lost and feeling clueless, and then after a humbling experience where you have to confess and acknowledge He is Lord...everything just seems to clear up. At the least, this is what has happened to me.

I was pretty well set on these plans, having discussed them in prayer before the Lord, inquired as to His Will, and then waited for that "sense of peace" to let me know that I was doing the right thing. I cannot really explain it, but for me, that "sense of peace" is the ticket. I recall Joyce Meyer saying the same thing one time. She mentioned how she knows when she is doing the Lord's will, and that the key for her is "peace." I think once we have a "sense of peace" about a particular decision, we can pretty safely say that it is Ok to proceed. Now, just have peace doesn't necessarily mean everything is good to go. No, there are too many variables and factors at play. I do think it means "green light," in the sense of "go ahead and start walking that way." If you are sensitive to the Holy Spirit, you can walk out and know that you are going in the right direction. If He needs to redirect you, He will do it. I think waiting until you have peace is critical for success.

Too many times I have stepped out without the peace only to find that chaos reigned as soon as I got my foot out the door. It was like a little windstorm was brewing, and as soon as I started to move in that direction it took on a mighty fierce nature. I knew right away that I had made a mistake. The important thing to remember is that sometimes we step out when it is windy (a little off course), and the Holy Spirit of God gently pushes us into a new path. Just slightly off, and He comes along and rights us. However, there are times when we do it without His guidance. We walk our own way, thinking it is right, and then we find out it is dead-wrong. The good news is that we can turn around quickly, admit that we made a mistake, and get back to waiting for His Perfect Peace.

This is what I have done. I have been charting the waters and watching the winds. I thought I was right on target, but when I started down that path, the winds kicked up and blew me right off course. I retreated to the safe harbor of His Will, got my bearings adjusted and waited for calm conditions. Once that peace came, I set out again, this time with fair weather and the forecast of clear skies. The big thing is to wait for clear skies and calms seas. There is no point in forcing your way against a raging tempest. You will get thrashed and trashed mighty quickly and may end up seriously off the mark.

My good news is this: I feel calm seas and clear skies are ahead of me. I see the future and it looks bright and sunny. No more rain and storm clouds. It looks like smooth sailing. I am not so naive to believe that I won't ever have some storms in life...I just believe that for the next little while, it is all clear.

I am blessed, so blessed to be in this relationship with the Lord. He is my God, and I love Him with my whole heart. Even when I mess up (royally mess up), and do the wrong thing or say the wrong thing, or simply am just foolish, silly and willfully stubborn...He loves me. He waits for me. He knows me. He knows the plans He has for me, and that they are very good. I wish I could be like Him, could face life like He does. He is so strong. So fearless. So amazingly calm. Of course, He is God, and I am not. He does everything perfectly, in His perfect timing, and with perfect provision. I flutter and fly and sink and swim. I tend to mess up a lot. He is my cheerleader of sorts, always encouraging me to try again, to not give up, to not give in. He wants me to succeed in His Will. He wants me to live the life He created me to live. He wants me to be blessed in the living of it, to experience the depths of joy in a relationship with Him and with others in the family of God. He has so much that He wants me to experience. My problem is that so much of my own experience is messed up, royally messed up. I am psychologically mixed up, I am mentally and physically challenged. I am spiritually stunted. Though I walk with the mighty Grace of God, my human body is not perfect. I am not perfect. I still do the things I know I shouldn't do. I wish this weren't the case, but it is. Instead of waffling and wailing and acting all uppity (like I have in the past), I have decided to trust Him, to believe what He says is true. I have decided that no matter how messed up this life seems, from His perspective it is very good. I have decided to praise Him in the midst of the sorrow, just like when I praise Him in the midst of joy. God is so Good to me. His Mercy endures and His Love never fails.

Oh, how I love Jesus...Oh, how I love Jesus!

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