Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Dancing with Mozart

One of the things I have done to keep myself humble is take piano lessons. I am 40 years old and this is the first time I have taken an instrument. A friend gave us a funky 1960's vinyl trimmed Wurlitzer piano last year, and in January I started taking lessons.

I suck.


But what is cool is that I started the lessons with the very intention of sucking. I am, in most areas of my life, sort of an overachiever. I was never satisfied with adequate. (Except for my housekeeping, which is generally less than adequate!) So, when I decided to take lessons, I did so with the full intention that I would be mediocre at best and it would be a practice in humility.

Part of my willingness to suck at piano is that it reminds me that even in my deep imperfection, I am wonderful in the eyes of God. He, who knitted my in my mother's womb (psalm 139:13), knows every last fault, every sin, every humiliation and shortcoming. And yet, and yet, he loves me so deeply, so unconditionally, so completely, it just boggles my mind.

Anyway, for the last, oh, I don't know, 3 months maybe, I have been working on a simplified minuet by Mozart. It is a dance piece, with all kinds of beautiful rhythms and harmonic contrast. He builds you up and drops you off... he creates tension and then releases it. It is kind of sexy, really, thinking about couples dancing to the disonance and release. I can picture it.

And this week, I finally started to get the piece. I got into the groove of it. I began to feel the music in me as I danced across the keys with Wolfgang.

I feel like that with centering prayer, sometimes. Like I don't get it, don't get it, don't get it. And I keep on trying, praying, sitting in silence, praying some more. And then, for a moment, I can see clearly what it is all about and there is such grace and joy and humility. I feel that immense connection with God and know that even in my lazy mediocrity, he loves that I pray every day.


juniper68 said...

Just found your blog and enjoy it.
I've read another essay that captures the joy of learning to play piano in middle age in a book by Barton Sutter called Life at the Top of the Map. You can find it cheap-ish on Amazon and its worth it just for this one essay. His piece is "finlandia."

LutheranChik said...

Rachel, you are my hero! I am 45 and I want to learn how to read music -- specifically, sight-read so I can sight-read sung liturgy.

Rachel's Big Dunk said...


Just do it! Especially for the liturgy.

My very first "gig" was to play the Doxology at a hymn sing at my church. I sat at an organ and, in front of the whole congregation, choked. But what a joy to be playing a huge pipe organ in a church... just for God. He probably got quite the giggle.

I say do it!