Monday, February 13, 2012
I have been plunking away at the piano from as early as I can remember. I'm not very good, haven't studied or practiced nearly enough. Yet I still love it, and from time to time have had a few brief series of lessons. My last piano teacher was actually really good. If I had stayed with her, and pursued it, I'd probably be pretty decent by now. She taught me a couple of things I hadn't known about--though maybe I thought I did. One thing was she made me go out and buy a metronome.
I thought that was going to be a real waste of my $25. "I know how to keep time, duh," I thought. But I got the thing anyway, put the battery in, turned it on, and began playing. Whoa! What a colossal freakout! I mean, who needs drugs to alter your reality? Just get one of these things! The experience was mind-bending, or should I say time-bending. As I played at what I thought was an even rhythm, the ticking of the metronome seemed to speed up and slow down randomly all over the place! It was a real eye-opener, and still is.
To this day I have the same sensation when I use my metronome. I have been using it a lot more lately, as I am the accompanist for a monthly Hymn Sing. It is sobering to know that I am capable of speeding up and slowing down to the point of throwing those poor singers right off their chairs, like some out of control merry-go-round! Well, maybe it's not quite that bad. But they are "counting" on me. So the $25 turned out to be a really good investment.
And it continues to illustrate to me more truths about how my perspective can be really off; and how my reality, though sometimes imperceptible to me, is warped. I am teaching a drawing class, and we have been discussing issues of perspective, naturally. If you want to drive yourself crazy, try drawing a piece of paper lying flat on a table. Okay, now, hold it up. Is the paper lying flat or is it tipping? The difficulty of this exercise is exacerbated by the fact that the angle at which your eye sees while drawing is probably not the same angle at which you are holding up the paper. Nevermind.
When I became a new Christian, I acquired a set of Bible memory verses put out by the Navigators. One of the first verses was Galatians 2:20--
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and
gave himself for me."
I memorized it, but never understood what that verse meant, though I tried. Sixteen years have gone by, and I have grown in my understanding of the Bible and in my walk with the Lord. It has been slow-going, as I have had a tendency to keep myself on the throne of my heart, instead of Christ. I was afraid to trust in Him alone. Though it seems silly, I really felt like I had some kind of control over my universe, and did not want to relinquish that. My tiny little fingers clinging, petrified, to an illusion.
The good thing about getting older and things falling apart is that you finally, finally lose the false sense of invincibility. Many people have this maturity before they begin to age, but I didn't. I have been blessed, so blessed, and used it to my detriment. I kept half my hope in God and the other half in me. My "superpowers" are beginning to fade, and I'm getting a little more desperate. That is a good thing.
On Sunday, my pastor was talking about the cost of discipleship. He talked about "taking up our cross," which really means dying to self. He explained, and I finally understood, that this is the meaning of Galatians 2:20