Monday, July 19, 2010

Oh, I'll Never Get It!

Remember that Sesame Street muppet who played the piano? He'd start composing a song with all of the notes falling into place. And then he'd reach the last line and that perfect rhyme would elude him. He couldn't take it, and always proceeded to bang his floppy-haired head on the keyboard moaning, "Oh, I'll never get it!"

This morning, my Little Miss Avery Kate brought me back to those Sesame Street days. Floppy hair and all. Bethie had been working on a piano piece -- a familiar Bach minuet with a very simple yet delightful melody. Avery sidled up to the bench as soon as it was vacant, determined to take a shot at it. She picked out the first few measures by ear and was pleased with the results.

But by the time she hit that fourth measure, her tiny fingers simply would not jump from one "c" to the next. She was frustrated. Now, when Avery is frustrated, we inhabitants of the Lawson home instinctively brace ourselves. One never knows what might happen. My musical pixie arched her back, emitted a cow-like moan and proceeded to hit the music book in front of her with both hands spread wide.

And then she tried again.

One measure, two measures, three . . . . Cue the unearthly cow moans and violent book smacking. She continued to do this over and over and over. Poor Bach. Poor Avery. Poor me. Every time she approached that fated measure I held my breath hoping that maybe this time she'd get it. A few times she begrudgingly accepted my help, but for the most part she wanted to be by herself. (This was made abundantly clear by the simple command, "Don't look at me!")

I've had those days. I've had too many of those days. The pattern is predictable. Things start out so well. The notes flow beautifully and the tempo is just right. My words are pleasant and my patience is saintly. And then suddenly I'm caught off guard. Arrows fly. I lose my focus and before I know it I'm a tangled, discordant mess, and I desperately want to smack my hands on the nearest something and shout, "Oh, I'll never get it!"

My dear friend, Annie, recently wrote a poem that challenged me to keep my focus where it needs to be. There is only One who can guard me when I feel overwhelmed on the battlefield of discord and there is only One who can create a peaceful reign in my home. When the notes are blurred and the harmony strays, when I'm tempted to despair and feel convinced that I'll never get it, I am reminded of how important it is to take up my Sword and Shield -- daily, hourly, yes even every minute.

If I'm honest with myself, because of my sin nature it's true that I'll never get it. The liberating reality, however, is that my Savior doesn't expect me to get it. At least, not on my own. He's written the music and wants to show me how the song goes, leading me through each crescendo and fermata along the way. Because He's got it. It's fully orchestrated and stunning. It's only when I smack my head on the piano and selfishly fume, "Don't look at me," that the music turns sour and becomes something other than what He created. My humanity causes discord.

But my obedience to Christ and my determined focus on His cross invites a harmony into my home that is pleasing to the ear and life-giving to all who enter and dwell within. No one can resist the melodic strains of His symphony, and I pray that before long each little heart in my care will yearn for the unique song that has been created by the Master for his or her life. The notes will fall into place, and one day we'll stand together in awe of His great masterpiece. The music will swell, our hearts will overflow, the scales will fall from our eyes . . . and we'll get it.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir's "Girls at the Piano"
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