Saturday, November 01, 2008

Play With All Your Heart ~ Muncie Star Press Column Nov. 1, 2008

When I was seven, my parents bought a brand new piano for me, before I ever had a lesson. That seems rashly optimistic, but my parents really wanted a piano player, with a fervor usually reserved for prospective doctors and lawyers. I can’t explain their unity and intrepidness in this goal, but when I was born, my father declared, “Now we have our piano player!”

Even though I wasn’t very good, you should’ve heard my folks go on about my playing. No matter how many times I bungled notes, they told me they loved it.

I thought, “What’s wrong with them? Can’t they hear the mistakes? I can’t finish a song without messing up, yet they think I’m headed for the Lawrence Welk Show!”

Now, every morning before school, my 15 year-old plays a collection of popular ballads she has learned from the Internet. As she practices, she tinkers with chords, misses notes, uses the pedals wildly—she’s all over the map, so to speak. Yet her music gives me a warm “Christmasy” feeling, one of peace, contentment and pride.

My joy comes from her expressing her God-given creative spark. I can feel her heart in the ballads. Notice that perfection is not even a remote consideration in my appreciation. I love that girl, and her music moves my heart.

When I was the young pianist, I couldn’t get past the mistakes, but my parents heard music above the flaws. Now I do the same thing with my daughter.

We created beings know our frailties all too well. We regularly bungle the gifts our Father has given us. Sometimes we start and don’t finish; sometimes we get a little crazy and miss the mark.

For instance, you may feel that you have not excelled at parenting lately. You may feel that your house is a mess, that you are scattered between home, church and work. You may have lost your patience with a family member in spite of your sincere desire to love him.

You only notice your flaws, while your Father who loves you sees your efforts and hears the music of your life above your clinker notes.

Missing the mark doesn’t surprise Him. Perfection isn’t even a remote consideration in his love for you. He delights in you even now as you sit soaking up these words.

Whatever you do today, “play” with all your heart for the One whose ear is inclined to you 24 hours a day. Don't let inner accusations and missteps drag you down. Your soul longs to express itself to its Creator, and He longs to hear music that is uniquely yours!

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