Thursday, February 7, 2013

Melody // A Reflection of Life, Mistakes, Forgiveness and Beauty

{written by Johanna}

P u s h i n g   b a c k   a   s t r a n d   of hair from my eyes, I sat down. Everything was so quiet, except for the clock which steadily ticked on, dutifully chiming half-past-nine. My finger's gently touched the ivory before me, gently sweeping across the keys which felt so foreign after so many weeks of being untouched. They poised almost instinctively. A beautiful sequence of sound was begun. 

Now, I had always considered myself somewhat talented at being able to play by ear. Not very well, to be sure my realm was more made up of following notes, and reading music. But I did possess the raw ability to feel my way through songs without notes to peruse, and find the keys needed to put together the melody of nearly any song that breathed within my little head. And tonight, the melody of In Christ Alone somehow wouldn't let go of me. The very lyrics seemed to whisper in my ears. 

// via pinterest //
Silence fell upon the room again as I adjusted my fingertips to the appropriate cord. For some odd reason, I never could quite be sure which cord to start with for this song. Goodness knows I had played it over and over. I ought to have known. But I didn't. Pressing my foot down on the peddle, I commenced compressing a few keys. Nodding, I released both and smoothed my fingers a few inches over. Surely this would be correct. Ah yes. This was the note I was searching for. I closed my eyes, and continued on with the beautiful melody which was so dear to my heart. 

Suddenly, I found myself humming along. In Christ Alone. My hope is found. He is my light, my strength, my -- . Once more, I lifted my foot from the peddle, trying to impede upon the grievous wrong note I had just hit upon. I started again. Made my way through a few stanza's, and . . . Another wrong note. The process repeated itself. But I couldn't stop. The song needed to be played, for it did so ring in my head -- so very perfect and beautiful. So I played on. Starting over, again and again. Sometimes beginning where I had left off, other times starting anew. 

While each time I played it, it seemed to get smoother and nearer flawless than not, and still I found that a few mistakes could not be helped. They seemed to just happen; to tumble from my hands, in a way. As I sat there, unconsciously clashing inwardly about whether to enjoy the beautiful melody which rang loud and clear or despair over my clumsy touch which seemed to constantly mar it ever so often, I realized something. Suddenly. Softly. Soulfully.

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This song was a reflection of my very life. 

It happened as quickly as a flash of lightly cracks across a dark cloud, and was received like a drop of water which had just saturated a thirsty plant. I opened my eyes and smiled. It was so true. So beautiful this was. My life was indeed as simple as the song I had just played. 

Here I was, simply living my life. A lovely melody it was. And is. I love it so very much, and wouldn't trade the sound of it for any other. Yet I find that I myself, while trying so very hard to live it to the fullest -- or, in metaphorical terms, play the song to it's highest state of untouchable beauty -- still mess up. In the midst of a beautiful cord, I still often hit the wrong note. Sometimes even when I'm paying most diligent attention to what I'm doing. Other times simply because I didn't bother looking. Many times because I am distracted by something else. 

And it happens so frequently. Sometimes the same mistake. Sometimes a new one. Sometimes they are less regular. And other times they flow like a torrent of rain from the sky.

You see, reader. I'm not perfect. My life melody isn't either. It is so riddled with mistakes and teased with wrong notes, I sometimes want to quit playing altogether. 

. . . At the beginning of this year, Bethany asked if I would accompany her in resolving to read the scriptures within a year's time. I of course said yes, enthusiastic about the prospects of turning a new leaf, erasing my former mistakes and starting again on my melody. Where do I stand today? So far behind in my reading, I no longer can bear to look at the chart which tells both of where I should be and where I really am. I find that looking back upon the days which have flown by since January first that I have spent less time in The Word then I have taken time to write this very article. What a bitter wrong note, the sound of which still seems to echo of emptiness and waste in my song.

I fail even when I try my hardest. I fail when I'm careless. I fail when I'm distracted. I fail. Often. And as I said before, there are times when I simply feel like quitting; when it seems that it would be easier to leave the piano bench all together, with the tune unplayed. 

And I would leave -- if it weren't for the melody which is constantly playing in my head; that perfect song, which is always sounding in my heart and soul. Never letting me go. Never giving in to silence. It is the song which I know my life can be. It is the sound of untouchable beauty. Never untuned, or wrong. Never spoiled by mistakes. It is the heavenly sound which always calls me to try harder in order to achieve it's beauty. 

These are but a few notes of what I hear --

[The Lord will] console those who mourn . . . give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.
// I  s a i a h   61:3 //

I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins.
// I s a i a h   43:25 //

"Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.
// I s a i a h   1:18 //

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
// P h i l i p p i a n s   4:13 //

You see, I forever have these notes -- and many others -- playing in my head, never to be quieted. They tell me of what my life is, what my life can be, and most importantly, that even though mistakes have been made and wrong notes have marred its beauty, even this can be amended for. It is the song of a second chance. The sound of forgiveness. The promise that through Christ, all can be made beautiful -- even the mistakes. Yes. As impossible as it may seem, even my sour notes will turn to beauty in his presence. All we must do is commit the song to him. 

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Y o u   k n o w   y o u   t o o  have that same song playing in your head. Right now. At this very moment. Simply aching to be played aloud, for all to hear and experience. You can already feel its beauty overwhelm you. Take you over. Captivate you. The question is, are you willing to try to play it? Yes, you will make mistakes. You will hit wrong notes. Yes, it would be much easier to walk away from the piano bench. But then, you will never hear its beauty come to life. Never feel the sounds intrude upon the void of silence. 

The choice is yours. Will you dare to combat the silence and commotion of this culture with a song resounding of Jesus? Will you dare to give up every worldly sound and melody you've ever heard in order to get a glimpse of what His song sounds like? Will you dare to face the humility of mistakes, the pain of practice in order to perfect it? The choice is yours. 

It will be hard to continue playing, when the instruments of the world mock loudly in our ears. It will be hard to resist the temptations to join in with their harmony. It will be painful to admit to our mistakes, and receive criticism and ridicule from many. And each and every wrong note we hit will discourage us, serving as a constant reminder of how easy it would be to simply give up.

But, allow me to promise you this. The melody of Christ is truly worth it in the end. In removing the sounds of the world, you replace them for the sound of pure, exquisite heavenliness. When being humiliated, it promises to comfort us. When hurt, it promises to sooth us. When in pain, it will relieve us. When weak, it will strengthen us. When in doubt, it will give us faith. Upon making ugly mistakes, it will transform them into sounds of beauty. And, in the end, rather then looking back on a song made of clatter and clamor, our song will be one made of utter magnificence; showing no mar, tarnish, or taint. It will be perfectly beautiful. It will be a melody which shall last for eternity. 

2 Words of Grace:

Miriam said...

Oh, friend, how beautiful! I have often felt that very same way myself. I knew I was failing, but I didn't want to admit it. The amazing thing is that no matter how much we fail, Christ is always here to forgive us. It doesn't matter how long it has been since we have spoken to Him, or how long it has been since we have read His Word, He will always take us back with loving and open arms!!! I know I will continue to fail in this sin-stricken world, but there is always going to be a Mighty God to pick me up and help me through!! Though none go with me, still I will follow...
Love and praying for you,

Rachie J said...

Being a fellow musician, I enjoyed that so's so true...we fail, we try again, we fail...but oh, the song! It is worth staying on the piano bench :) and it is only worth it because of our Father, Who loves us beyond our wildest dreams. :)
Thank you! What an encouragement to read your post :)