February 18, 2011

Making Sense

It is a cloudy day in Phoenix, but the weather (temps) is nice.  I think we are supposed to get rain today, and the cloud cover will keep us a bit cooler (perhaps more like our average).  It is nice to not have to deal with cold, freezing rain or snow (LOL!)  At Macy's a lot of my customers are visiting from the colder Northern states or Canada.  They LOVE our weather, and wish they could live here full-time.  I miss the cold sometimes, but on days like today, I am glad I live in Phoenix.  I think mid-February to March is the best time to be in Arizona.  The trees and flowers are in bloom, and the weather is about 75-80 degrees.  Cool mornings, warm afternoons, and very pretty evenings.  Perfect weather, perfect climate.

As I spend today, I am reflecting on the status of things in my life.  My son is sick today (has been the past couple days), and is home from school.  I hate that he has missed his first class, but at least it is Kung Fu and not English 101.  He can make up this class next week, and won't be penalized for missing.  He is coughing and probably has a slight sinus infection (his head hurts and his eyes are sore -- which is why he didn't want to go to class today -- Kung Fu is best not practiced with hindered eyesight).  I am home today as well, with no work to do until tomorrow.  Then I work three shifts in a row before I get a nice break next week.  I have finished my home work for one class, and hope to have my assignments read for the second course.  All in all, I am in a very good spot today.  I did laundry earlier in the week, cleaned my house, and did most of the shopping.  I don't feel my best (my monthly cycle is a bear this week), but overall, I think things are going well.

My brother is helping me with my resume, and I am settled on seeking any job the Lord has in mind for me.  I am open to teaching college, high school, middle school or adult courses.  I am open to working in my current field (web) or in any other field that suits my skill set.  I am open to moving to another state or staying put.  In general, I am willing AND ready to go where and when the Lord leads.

This brings me to the point of this post.  It is funny sometimes how we miss the smaller details of life, even when we are focused so carefully on them.  I have been encouraging my son in his music study for the past seven years.  He is a fine pianist, and getting to be a very accomplished guitarist.  Recently (well for about a year), he has been asking for a Bass guitar.  In many ways, his pressuring us for a guitar is similar to when he pressured us for a piano (he was 10 at the time).  Prior to then, he had taken one year of violin through our local public school program.  He liked it, but never did much with it.  He changed schools and mid-year, began begging for a piano.  He said he would "die" if he didn't get one.  Mind you, my son wasn't dramatic back then (well, yes he was, but not in the way you think -- dramatic as in imaginative).  He normally didn't act up, pout or demand anything.  We waited almost a year before purchasing him a piano.  When we did, we made sure he understood that it wasn't a toy, and that he would have to take lessons.  That was seven years ago, and my son is now preparing a recital piece with his violin teacher.  They will play Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1 in G major by Brahms.  This advanced piece is one of the most beautiful I have ever heard played, and they play it stunningly.  My son has become a classical pianist, and he is extremely gifted on this instrument.

He started to express interest in studying music in college around 9th grade.  I encouraged him, of course, and his teacher has worked with him for the past several years (prepping for audition and such).  Last year, though, something changed, and instead of gearing up for auditions and pushing on into music school, he simply stopped playing the piano.  He wouldn't practice it, and he seemed disinterested.  I thought it had to do with our current situation at home, the uneasiness of it all, and the stress that is there due to our probable divorce.  However, in hindsight, I think that it was symptomatic of his giftedness.  Let me explain.  Sometime around Christmas, my son told me that while he loved the piano and would always play it, he simply didn't want to study it anymore.  He wanted to learn other instruments.  At this same time, he had been playing the guitar for about three years (teaching himself).  Last summer, he borrowed a friend's bass guitar and he played around with it for a month or so.

He started in with the "Mom, I really would like...." speech last summer.  He wanted a bass guitar and a drum set.  I said, "yeah, sure," which really meant that the bass was OK, but the drums would have to wait.  Truthfully, I didn't have any money to purchase a new guitar for him, and he already needed a new amplifier for his existing guitar.  His list of wants kept getting longer and included all sorts of pedals and other effects tools for guitar.  I remember my brothers playing guitar so I was mostly familiar with all these extras.  They add up, and can cost hundreds of dollars.  Budget was a factor, so I said he would have to wait or raise the money himself.  He took it on himself, got a part-time job at our church, and worked temporarily until he was able to buy a new amplifier for himself (I was so proud).

Around Christmas though he began hounding me for a bass guitar.  It was another "I am going to die" if I don't get one (though at 17, it was more like a very stern plea).  I said, "Sure, when I have the money or when you get another job."  He has been looking for work, but there were no jobs for 17 year olds with little experience.

Now comes the funny part in all of this.  About a year ago, the Lord said that I needed to purchase a bass guitar for my son.  This was before he got interested in it.  I said, "OK, Lord, you provide one to us."  I also knew that he would need a drum set.  Again, another revelation from the Lord.  This was through prayer, of course, and me on my knees asking for help with DJs piano study and lack of interest.  Instead of telling me what to do to motivate him in piano study, the Lord simply encouraged me to let go, and to not worry about it.  Then I was told that he would need a bass guitar.  I tried to put two-and-two together back then, thinking that he might need it for the Youth Worship band he was in at the time.  Then I thought perhaps he would have the opportunity to play in the main Worship band at church.  This actually has come to pass, but he plays keyboards and not bass (they already have a very fine young man that plays bass).  I didn't get it, but it was what the Lord said, so be it.  I actually told my son what the Lord said, and at the time, he wasn't that interested in the bass at all.

So here we are almost a year and half later, and guess what?  That bass guitar is now a hot topic in our home, and furthermore, my son has made the desire known that he is interested not only in the bass, but also drums and violin.  Ok, so what gives?  What is going on?

Well, just today as I was praying I said to the Lord, "is it possible that DJ will study music in college, but just not the piano?"  I am not sure where that suggestion came from, but there it was, and as soon as it popped out of my mouth, I realized perhaps this was the Lord's answer to my question.  I realized that perhaps my son is supposed to study MUSIC (all music).  Furthermore, that perhaps what he will study is guitar or bass, and that he will continue to study and perform on a wide range of instruments.

In my narrowly focused mindset, the only LOGICAL option was to study piano at college.  The only logical option was to audition on piano.  But now my son is at the community college, and he is enjoying general studies.  Now he is interested in Jazz and Blues music, and now he is developing a wider appreciation of what is available.  Perhaps all of this makes perfect sense when you consider it in light of God's will.  I have always believed that it was the Lord's will that my son use his music gifting for ministry.  I didn't limit it to professional capacity because I know that we are to use our gifts in the ministering of the saints and that can be through vocation and volunteer opportunities.  I just limited the method and means of study -- thinking the only option would be piano.  I never considered that in the time he studies at the community college, he could become good enough to study Bass or another instrument at a University.

How I wish I would be more open to the Lord's direction in my life.  I say that I am, but in truth, I find that I am a shallow thinker, often choosing the hard reality rather than faith.  God knows my son best, and He knows what he desires most.  I need to let go, and let this be.  I understand how the Lord moves in people's lives, and that it isn't always laid out neatly or follows a straight line.  God is GOOD that way, and His way is always best.

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