Tuesday, March 17
Psalm 98: 4-7 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises. Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord.
Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who live in it.
Giving Up and Letting Go Through Music
The tears… it was becoming all about the tears. My frustration with myself, the drum, the music — what was I thinking? My lack of percussion talent was obvious and it was time to call it quits. I had never had any formal lessons on the drum – just coaching sessions from a talented and patient high school student. But even with her help, I just couldn’t do it, and I was tired of the tears. Before each performance, I prayed to God for help: to hold it together, to not be afraid, to stay focused, and to – above all, not cry anymore. Honestly, I’m sure God was tired of hearing that prayer.
So I resolved on New Year’s Eve that I would stop the tears in 2015 and pass the drum sticks to someone else. That was my resolution… but I think I heard God laugh.
At the first Monday evening rehearsal in 2015, I walked in ready to tell Rafael of my resolution. The conversation didn’t go as I had planned. First, through an odd series of circumstances, I was late, and there was some discussion among the ensemble members that I may have quit. So when I walked in, I had to confess my frustration and tears to everyone. I thought I would be mortified and embarrassed. Instead, I felt… welcomed! Others started sharing their past anxieties about playing and it was heartwarming to hear Rafael encouraging me to stay, to stick with it, and to keep trying.
I’d love to say that by the end of the evening I was playing beautifully and had no troubles. That would be the Hollywood version of my story. The truth is, though, that I no longer cry. I’m no longer intimidated by playing multiple percussion instruments. I’m not a great musician, I still struggle with rhythms, but knowing that I am part of something bigger than myself keeps me going. I love being a part of that experience – even if I am one of the lesser talents – I feel accepted at Aldersgate, and I feel God’s love. So here’s my revised resolution: Give up the fears and tears, let go of my anxieties, and trust that God will be pleased with my simple musical offering.
Now, in this Lenten Season – a time where we think of giving up things to bring us closer to God – consider giving up your fears and tears. Push yourself to do something outside your comfort zone. Join instrumental ensemble, play hand bells, sing in the choir. I’m sure God is smiling, always, as he watches you to become part of something bigger than yourself.
Rebecca Adams Oliver
Prayer: Father, please help me to let go of my fears. Help me to find my place in something larger than myself. Help to feel your love as I humbly offer my musical talents to glorify your message. Amen.