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Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Sound Of Music

Beware - this is along one!

I was six years old, nearer to seven actually, when I excitedly watched the piano being lugged and heaved by strong, sweating men into my parents house. (Pianos are incredibly heavy beasts!) It was carefully brought in through the front door and placed along the far wall of the living room. As soon as those men were gone I was at that piano, my little fingers pressing the ivory keys in wonder.

My lessons began that fall with a kindly lady who lived across the street, her name was Mrs. Doerksen. I was hooked and diligently continued lessons up to and including my first year of Bible school. I had four different teachers during those twelve years: after Mrs. Doerksen there was meticulous Mrs. Pahl, then eccentric Glen Montgomery, and I concluded with a pretty young blond lady who I can’t remember the name of. (I only studied under her for one year so I won’t feel too bad.) I truly enjoyed playing the piano and coaxing songs out of the intricately written notes. There were definitely times when I wished that the piano had never been invented but overall I loved it. The music that I was able to create carried my soul into a unique, fulfilling place.

The piano wasn’t the only form of music I was blessed with being able to create. I also sang in many choirs at church, school and Bible College. My voice wasn't/isn't what one would call superb, and to this day I’m too chicken to sing solos, but I can nicely hold my own. Then flute became my emphatic choice of instrument when band entered the picture in school. I picked it up naturally and blew my way into being one of the better flutists our bands had while I was a student. I even took private lessons for a year but then my mom made me choose between flute or piano and piano won. Gradually music became my “thing”. I was a member of every choir and band I could be. Music made me feel alive and important. It was the perfect way for me to express my inner being and feel fulfilled. I rarely tired of my musical activities.

I majored in music at Bible College for two years, although the program wasn’t particularly good. After graduating with a diploma I contemplated studying music more seriously at university. The reality of taking music to a career level is that you either had to be exceptionally good at an instrument and become a performer (which I wasn’t) or plan to teach it (which wasn’t me either). On top of that, the idea of university didn’t really thrill me so I decided against that idea. I ended up getting engaged shortly after Bible College, working for a year before getting married and than settling into the reality of life. Music, although still present, took a secondary seat.

I played in a community band for a year and then my husband got a job as a youth pastor in Calgary. At our church there we got involved with leading the youth worship team. Our weekly practices and the Sundays we lead worship became my highlights. Five years were spent in Calgary and then life took us back here. We took a year off from church involvements then I once again joined a worship team and the church choir. Rehearsals and the Sundays I was required in either role were my favourite times. I loved nothing more than singing to my Lord.

Then this past year everything changed. Our church hired a new, very skilled worship pastor. His talent and personality and the fact that he was new encouraged many musically gifted people to appear and volunteer their talents. The choir grew into a huge and impersonal group from the intimate social gathering it once was for me. Suddenly, without explanation, I was also no longer a member of a worship team. The thrill I once got our of music waned but I persevered because I knew that change always brings about challenges and adjustments.

My voice then began to fail me which didn’t help matters. One thought is that due to allergies I had nasal drip which affected the vocal chords. Another thought is that the type of music sung in choir didn’t stretch my voice enough so it got rusty. A third thought is at that pregnancy changes a body and my singing abilities were included in that. Whatever the reason for my vocal deterioration I grew increasingly frustrated with singing but continued with choir, not willing to give it up. I was asked to play my flute in the orchestras for the Christmas and Easter productions which was a fun, rejuvenating change that gave my voiced a break. My singing voice still isn’t up to par though.

All in all music-and-me has changed and I can no longer ignore that fact. I’ve never been phenomenal or one that people would comment on how nice I sound using whatever instrument. That was okay because I believed I had adequate talent (I hope so anyway, I trusted my husband and family to be honest with me in that area) and I had fun. Now I don’t enjoy it nor do feel good enough anymore.

Is it the new worship pastor?

Is it me?

Is it God urging me in other directions through these factors?

For the first time in my life I am seriously considering putting music aside. The mere thought of it saddens me to the depths my being but that appears to be where circumstances are leading me. My soul is screaming “NOOOO!!!”. But my mind is starting to give up and give in to the reality that music is not what it once was for me.

I’ve always had music. It is what has defined a large part of me. Now I may have to let it go which means rediscovering that part of ‘me’.

I should be excited because if this is how things are to be than that means that God has something else in store for me.

I’m still not 100% convinced that this is what I need to do.

For now I’m hanging on to my music and thinking and searching.

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