Saturday, February 12, 2011

“You know what the wrong notes are, why don’t you fix them?”

Saturday- 10:27am - I’m sitting here in Philadelphia, at Philadelphia Youth Orchestra (PYO) practice.  I’m listening to my sister play her violin along with a room full of other young, talented teenagers who gather every Saturday morning (of the year!) to combine the individual sounds of their instruments in a way that results in a unified harmony that cannot be created any other way.

What inspired me to write this morning were comments from the director.  I actually kept a list of them that I may post later.  But, for now, I’ll just reflect on one of them.

First, a little background.  The conductor of this orchestra means serious business.  He is in charge.  He is in control.  And if you don’t wish to do what he says, you can leave, and not come back.  Yet, as a result of his firm leading, the musicians in the orchestra produce truly incredible sounds.
At one point this morning, when something didn’t sound quite right, he identified 4 violins and asked them to play their part for a few measures.  Then he picked another 4 violins.  Then another 4, until the conductor had pin-pointed exactly which students had made the error. (Picture- PYO)

The conductor said to the students, “You know what the wrong notes are, why don’t you fix them?”

I thought about this for a while.  First, the conductor executed brilliant precision in determining the location of the wrong notes.  Second, he allowed sufficient time, and used necessary resources to bring the wrong notes to light.  Third, he posed a challenge.  ‘Fix it.’

So, now that the students know what the wrong notes are, the question remains: why don’t they just fix them?  Well, fixing wrong notes takes time, patience, perseverance, hard-work, energy, focus, discipline, concentration, resistance to distractions, training, practice, willingness to replace the wrong notes with the right notes, etc, etc.

I wondered…. if this is what is required for a violin student to fix wrong notes when playing a line of music, how much greater the challenge must be for us to fix ‘wrong notes’ in our own lives?

First, we must realize that we played a ‘wrong note' (often the most difficult step).  Second, we must willingly submit to those people, and situations God has placed in our lives to guide us, who reinforce the fact that we have indeed made and error -- an error that not only hinders our own growth, but also affects the rest of the orchestra.  Third, we have to accept the challenge, and by His grace and with His help, we must make changes that ‘fix it.’  (Picture- my sister Natalie is on the far left, second from the end)

This requires something of us. Something that we don’t naturally want to give. Something that demands attention to a part of our lives that we would rather ignore.

But through this process, I am reminded that my Heavenly Father is there with me - just like a conductor is there for his orchestra- through the right and wrong notes that they play.

Just as a conductor is keenly aware of sounds played by his orchestra, so my Heavenly Father knows me completely- inside and out.  Just as a conductor gently, yet firmly corrects errors made by his musicians, my Heavenly Father lovingly directs and re-directs my ‘music’ every single day.  Just as a conductor applies pressure that results in more talented musicians, my Heavenly Father gives me exactly the kind of direction I need that develops me into who He has created me to be.  Just as a conductor knows that correction draws out a better performance by his orchestra overall, my Heavenly Father knows that when my uniquely developed sound is united with the rest of the orchestra, the result will be the most beautiful music ever heard.

My Heavenly Father always has my best in mind, and I have no reason to doubt Him or His ways.

Conduct my life, Lord.  I want to play my best for you.  Show me the wrong notes, and remove them from my life.  Replace them with your perfect notes- beautiful notes that point others to You.  Let my individual sound blend so harmoniously well with the orchestra of life that the resulting music brings You great glory.

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