We just got back from a two hour recital in which five of my eight children played several piano pieces. They are at different levels and enjoy different kinds of music but as I sat back and listened I reflected on all the years ( we started with piano lessons over ten years ago when the eldest was six) and all the frustration, and all the hard work, which brought them to where they are now I am frankly amazed. I often wondered if their musical skills would ever add up to anything…and with every recital I am reaffirmed that we did the right thing in sticking to it.This year my husband has been very sick dealing with Graph vs Host Disease and then skin cancer, thus we’ve had a host of things to deal with…including keeping on schedule with all the school work. Sometimes, when I am exhausted and thus irritated, I begin to wonder..am I doing the right thing? Does all this really matter? I could send my kids off to some “other” school and save myself a lot of work. I could cancel the music lessons and save myself some money and frustration. But then I can’t help but adding…and we could get rid of the animals and the garden….hey….why did I have kids in the first place? My life would certainly be easier if I only had myself and my husband to take care of. And then, before you know it, I am wondering why I don’t just jettison him into the world of “I need to take care of myself now”. In truth…I could toss every relationship, every skill, everything worth doing off my shoulders and live in self centered minimalist approach to life.
But yesterday happened and I can’t deny it. I asked my kids to come in and play their songs for me…which they did. And I sat on the couch transfixed. Actually it wasn’t just yesterday. With so many kids taking lessons we have someone playing the piano almost every hour of the day. And as they have improved and taken over the lessons as their own…keeping their own schedules and working hard to improve…so I have had hours of wonderful background music which has lifted my mind and soul numerous times through out the past hard months and weeks.
When they play music they become someone more than just that little kids that I love… or that developing teenager I’ve been molding…or that young adult I’m coming to respect. Music played well demands interpretation and involvement…a certain passion for life. And as I watched them and listened to what they could do in my own living room and then again today I knew without a shadow of a doubt that music has not only made them better thinkers, trained them to keep a schedule, made them sensitive to artistic nuances…but in fact helped to fulfill their highest human nature…to respond to that glorious call that says “I am a human being and I have something important to say…something beyond mere words…something incredibly mysterious…something that touches the sky and reaches into Heaven.”
My kids also have a love of good literature and so they enjoy making up stories…to write down or simply to share in a conversational manner. They delve deep into the quirks of human nature, what motions and expressions give a character depth, what motivates and what ruins a character or a story line. And so, much the same with literature as with painting, drawing, sculpture, wood carving and a host of creative arts, I see in my children the development of what makes human beings son and daughters of God.
Birds have been making the same nests for eons..and so they will continue to do so until the sun falls from the sky. Monkeys may communicate and use simple tools but they don’t make a play on words and they can’t transform wood into a flute or make metals from dirt. They haven’t a clue how to fashion a piano or how to interpret Mozart. Human beings…for all our occasional devilry are uniquely capable of the destiny of greatness that God has granted only to us.
And to think..it started with piano lessons.