Go out and train everyone you meet,
far and near, in this way of life.

Lessons from the Music Teacher

I have been absent from the blog-o-sphere (except for posting sermons) for a while. How nice that a couple of you have missed me. LOL

Truth be told: life has been happening so quickly that I haven’t been able to comment on it at all. The changes at the church, my own vacation, reconnecting with family and connecting with new friends has occupied a lot of my time. And, in some ways, it’s been a real challenge for me to stay centered and grounded in any kind of routine.

Life is like that, isn’t it? We find a routine or a pattern and then something comes along to alter it. The alteration might be good or bad, but nonetheless it’s different and the difference brings about a period of adjustment. It happens with large events (births, deaths, surgeries, unemployment) but it also happens with smaller ones (road construction, cable outages, having your email hacked). Things come up that separate us from the known, the familiar, the routine.

Some of us prize routine more than others.

For me, it’s not the routine itself that becomes a comfort as much as it is the rhythm of life, and periodically, the rhythm needs to change in life just as it does in music. My dad (himself quite the music educator in this country) used to talk about periods of his life as if they were movements of a larger work. I remember him recounting a particularly challenging time in his life and when I asked how he  moved on from that, he said, “I drew a double-bar. That was the end of it.”

In music, a double-bar is put in the notation either at the end of a piece (to let the performer know that there isn’t any more), or whenever there is a change in time signature or key signature. Yes, it can be used at the ultimate end of a work, but it’s also used to delineate sections of a larger work or the end of one particular “mood” or “style.”

Lately, I think the rhythm of life has been drawing double bars for us … in our country (let’s face it: things are not what they used to be) … in our world (how much longer are we going to let greed, power, and entitlement going to dominate the  landscape?) … in South Church (as the Deacons and Elders decided yesterday, we have been living with change so long now that it has become the norm) … and in my own life  (turning a new decade at my last birthday, preparing to launch my child to college in a  year, settling in to our new home which we bought 11 months ago,  yadda yadda yadda).

But the tricky part comes NOT in resisting the double bar and the new section. For me, the tricky part is in the transition itself and making sure that I’m watching the conductor (or paying attention to my teacher or my coach) to make sure I’m adjusting to the new style or tempo or key change in the right way.

Boy,  it’s a lot easier when we’re looking at a score than when we’re improvising, isn’t it? 🙂

So … calling to mind the HUNDREDS of groups and performances I’ve been a part of, this is a Reminder to Self:

1) LOOK UP once in a while and  follow the Conductor.

2) Get your head out of the music and LISTEN to the other parts around you.

3) Have CONFIDENCE. You’ve practiced your part, now go and DO it.

Hope this makes some sense and has meaning  for others, too. And if not … just use it to whack me up side the head if you see me out on some solo tour for a while. LOL

In the meantime … let’s all get back to practice because the concert’s right around the corner.

Blessings and peace,



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