Wednesday, February 18, 2009

February is not my favorite

In spite of Valentine's Day, Joybear's birthday, and being the month in which Muffin and I got engaged, it has never been my favorite time of year. The weather is weird--80 one day and 35 the next. Windy enough to blow the fence down one day and perfect the next. And musically speaking there is not usually much happening. But this year has found me planning and going and doing one thing after the other. My studio participated in theory testing early in the month. This week most of the students are playing solos in a festival, which just means it's a judged event for them and lots of paper work and accompanying for me, but is a good measuring tool for year to year progress. And the symphony has a pops concert--all Broadway--this weekend. Plus the quartet is playing a reception between the last afternoon symphony rehearsal and the concert that night.

And there is the Bible study--Esther: It's Tough being a Woman. The homework intrigues me and I spend several hours on it some days. Esther (the book) has no mention of God in it. Esther has many hidden aspects of God's nature, however. Esther, the queen, hid her identity as a Jewess for several years. Do you see a pattern here? Hidden things?

Well, February is more fun this year--busier, educational, challenging, and best of all offered a free weekend for visiting the GrandTwins, JB, CB, and Kak. Wish we could see Jbear and Gracie and their parents too. Then, if I could celebrate Joybear's birthday with her in person, it would be perfect.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Friends in Need

I haven't felt like blogging. We know lots of people with deep needs and mostly I have prayed. Two of my dear sisters in my Reunion Group have had a very difficult week. K's sister went home to be with the Father this week after six years of battling cancer. Peggy's sister entered into a new phase of dementia, unable to swallow, and her sister and brother are making life support decisions. An engineer with whom my husband worked and was in a meeting only a week ago, passed away early in the week. The man who owns the copy shop I use lost his 22 year old daughter to a kidney transplant failure. And in mid week I learned that a sweet student I taught from sixth grade to high school graduation had a great tragedy. Her single mother took her own life, leaving behind two daughters, a son, and two grandchildren, as well as a grieving sister and her family.

Father God, bless these dear ones with peace, with comfort, and with strength and wisdom to move in your kingdom. Speak to their hearts and sing over them in the dark places. May they have the mind of Christ in all things. May they fall in love with you all over again and become your dearest friends. May they hear you speak to them and teach them the Way to go. In Jesus' name.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Bullies and Freedom

When I was in high school I was in a daily situation in an orchestra where I was frequently intimidated by another student or by the director. If I were making a Hollywood movie I would call them "bullies". The technique was simple: tell me whatever was necessary to make me back off as a competitor. Tell me whatever necessary to make me feel less than prepared, adequate, musical, intelligent, acceptable... You get the picture. Intellectually I knew exactly what was happening, but emotionally, I eroded. The result is that I would either freeze up or make mistakes, neither of which would happen when I practiced alone. Amazing, the power of words and intimidating actions!

For a couple of years the symphony orchestra in which I play has used a rotating seating system for all string players behind the front stands of principle players. Last weekend I was seated with a young college student who essentially either ignored me or tried to intimidate me with his unprofessional attitude and actions. Amazingly, I felt like that 15-18 year old high school student again and began making mistakes in passages that I knew I could play--with a metronome--up to performance tempo. It didn't help that the odor of tobacco was so strong that my allergies were flaring. After the third rehearsal in these circumstances, I began to really think. I thought about my reactions. I thought about how I KNEW that I could actually play the music. I thought about how many times I had actually performed this music with this orchestra and other orchestras. I thought about the fact that I had as much right to sit there and to play well as anyone else did.

After some prayer and saying "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" about 50 times, I played a decent concert. More importantly, after yesterday's sermon from our pastor who talked about letting go of past sins and baggage, I did. Let go of the baggage, I mean. Being intimidated by bullies and receiving it as it is intended, is the same as believing a lie. Listening to, and believing lies is the same thing Adam and Eve did, right? So it's a choice, right? So I choose to stop believing that I am less than prepared, less than intelligent, less than musical, and less than what I know God has made me to be. I also choose to ask that I may have a different stand partner for future concerts, because I know that is the correct choice. And I feel free!