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Childhood wishes…

At forty years-old, I am not sure why it has taken so long for a childhood wish to become fulfilled, but that is just the way it unfolded.   There was a time I played the clarinet in the school band and I was in the district-wide honor band.  In my junior high band, I was first chair and second chair (subsequently, after mandatory try-outs each semester).  In the honor band, I was third chair and fourth chair.  I had some big solos at the Christmas concert and a few other concert performances.

Our school band was able to meet with a few members of the city’s symphony as part of their educational outreach to the community.  We were encouraged to try other instruments during the workshop and we got to listen to professionals play impromptu melodies for us.  I had a dream, all of a sudden, of playing my clarinet or another type of instrument in the symphony some day.  I fell in love with the symphony and such began my journey into classical music. Later, my mother introduced me to Handel’s Messiah and I was in love.  I had wishes to see the symphony perform Handel’s Messiah live!

Well, a lot of things happened and life was derailed in many ways for many reasons.  I gave up on the clarinet and packed away any musical aspirations I might have had in my old clarinet case and stuffed it deep in the closet of my heart.  I quit playing in band and I scoffed at the idea I would ever do anything important, much less make beautiful music.

I played the piano and won a blue ribbon for composing my own song when I entered an academic meet through school.  But, I eventually stopped playing those notes, too.  The sheet music for the song I composed is long gone and I have forgotten how to move my hands across the keys.  My mother, though, could probably tell you all about the days I sat at the piano withdrawn, somber, and trying to master the most difficult pieces of Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata’.  Or, she could describe the many hours I spent putting together my own composition of a very sad and foreboding tune.

Over the years, I would play the clarinet from time to time just because, but I would usually put away the sheet music feeling grief over the young girl I once was.  And, I am not sure how many years it has been since I have bothered to play the piano.

A few months ago, I was reunited with my clarinet and it felt like a gift from above when I opened the big, surprise box that came in the mail.  Yes, my fingers can still move and trill!  My three year-old marched around the dining room while I scatted with a reed.  I even started looking at sheet music again!

Last week, out of the blue, I got a message from my husband’s sister asking me if I would attend the symphony with her to see Handel’s Messiah.  Even though my entire household has been circulating sickness recently, I immediately said yes.  And, I was determined to go no matter how anyone felt, including myself.

I spent yesterday afternoon at the symphony listening to Handel’s Messiah.  They included the scriptural lyrics in the program so the audience could read along with the symphony and choir.  It was absolutely spectacular and amazing.  I was so transfixed on it all.  The sound was so crisp and clear with no sound system whatsoever; it was just the pure sound of their instruments and voices filling the music hall.

I felt that old, familiar sting in my heart as I listened to the musicians carry us through the life of our Lord.  I started to wonder who I would be and what I could have accomplished if certain things had not happened, if I had not failed at so much, and if trauma had never been a part of my journey.  I even wondered if, maybe, I would be loved more if things had been different.  Why our thoughts take those turns, I do not know, but none of us are immune to questioning our value and worth.

Those thoughts were twisting up my insides as the choir began to sing about Isaiah 53:5:

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

The cry of my heart started to change, especially when the wonderful tenor solo stepped in with Psalm 69 and then a line inspired from Lamentations 1:12:

Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto His sorrow.

I realized that the Messiah had already taken it all upon Himself on the cross; my wounds, my fears, my grief, my trauma, my failures, and even my old, dead dreams.

I started to thank Him in the shadows of my heart for carrying our sorrows so that we wouldn’t have to.  I began to thank Him that I have survived what I have survived.  I was there, alive and in the present moment, watching the symphony I had always admired performing the music I had always loved.

It sounds so simple, but He fulfilled those dormant desires of my heart through the music of this spectacular symphony. That little girl inside of me was delighted beyond words. That little girl inside of me was experiencing a long-lost wish and getting healed in the process.

When we stood for the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’, I felt a new sense freedom unfold as I thought of all the Lord has done for us.

 

 Psalm 145:19

He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.

54 thoughts on “Childhood wishes…”

  1. This reminded me of the verse Matthew 13:52. What a nice gift from our Father to pull out of the past for you! I have a few things that fit in the box of “what if,” but we have all the time of eternity to pursue those things, especially in the Father’s house! It’s things like this that I think fit Ecclesiasties 3:11, and he brings them out of our hearts from time to time to call our hearts home to him. Great post! Cheers!

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  2. Jennifer, to me, music is to my soul like air is to my lungs…like light to my eyes. It’s food for my soul!! Sometimes, I find solace in retreating to my little music room at home, and just getting lost in all the sharps and flats, the rhythms and melodies. I was only today commenting to my sister about how there are days I want to get lost in Led Zepplin or Aerosmith or Chicago. Other days, I want to be totally immersed in Jethro Tull or Joe Bonamassa…and other days, it’s Willie Nelson or Roy Acuff. Even other days, it’s strictly Beethoven or Brahms that becomes the soothing balm for my spirit.
    One thing I can tell you is that while I love to listen to music…being able to let it out of my heart is even more rewarding!! I had no idea you played clarinet or piano! That’s a totally new aspect to my knowledge of my sister-in-law!! I started my musical journey in 3rd grade when my parents forced me to take piano lessons. I hated them!! At that time, all I knew was the piano was a “girl’s instrument”!! How wrong I was!! I wish I’d known then about Horowitz or Kempff or Billy Joel or Elton John!! Tremendous pianists!! After that one year, I quit! In the 5th grade, I elected to play the trumpet and started lessons, which I continued through high school. I still play to this day, although I’m not nearly as accomplished as I was when I was young.
    I started playing the bass guitar when I was in the 4th grade, mostly because of hearing Harold Scott!! I thought his bass was so cool…and that set me playing one…and I still play today.
    I guess all that is to say this…never give up on music. Don’t play for others. Don’t get discouraged when you don’t sound as good a Benny Goodman or Artie Shaw!! Play for the sheer joy of playing. Play because it’s one way for your soul to speak in a human language…the language of music!!

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    1. This was so timely, Jeff, that I got a little teary-eyed (I am such a sap, I know). I once rented a violin because I wanted to play so badly. I played by ear and just because. It was fun and I loved it. I was pondering, this evening, renting a violin (or even another stringed instrument) again just for the sheer joy of it. I think music is therapy and I am even going to look into a new book for the clarinet. Because, yes, you are so right; it is a language of the soul! And, I have missed speaking that language in any form! Even if it is a language I should speak quietly with only my children as an audience. 😉

      I have played the guitar, too, but even that fell by the wayside. Robbie and I have tried to get both of our guitars out to play together, but we get so busy with the kids. However, I think they both would benefit if they watched their parents playing on instruments. Hank is already showing signs of interest in music. You should hear him belt it out to Bob Dylan or Johnny Cash while he bangs his hands like a drum or claps. Our music tasts are quite ecclectic in this house.

      Thank you for the inspiration! And, THANK YOU for the tickets to the symphony!!! 😀

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  3. LOVE this post and that you got to see Handel’s Messiah! Classical music has played a huge part in my life and I am so familiar with its healing properties. My favorite thing to do for many years was to go to the symphony or a chamber music concert and meditate, laughing and crying, during the performance. I even played violin in a symphony for a couple years. Praise God that he was speaking to you so tenderly during this dream come true!

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  4. I am reminded once again how much God, who created us values us in spite of all we have done. I’m sure he loves to hear your music as much as you love to play it and the joy of playing has never stopped. I hear music in the words you have written. It is a song of sadness turned to joy. A song that sings to a savior that turned night into day and gives life to the dead. It’s a song that inspires others in spite of hardship. Though you aren’t playing it on the clarinet, you are living it.

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  5. Your words in this post is an example of how our everyday lives can be wrought into praise to the Lord. What a wonderful opportunity for you to escape for an afternoon of music and to be able to sing to God along with strangers in a music hall. Christmas can truly be a wonderful time of year!

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  6. Beautiful. The Hallelujah Chorus has always been one of my favorites. I’m so glad you got to go yesterday. Having grown up in an a cappella church, I never learned an instrument, though i do sing a little. Someone gave us a piano last year and I keep meaning to have it tuned and find my son a teacher but just haven’t yet. I always wanted to learn to play myself. Maybe I’ll take lessons too!

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  7. Beautiful post! Standing for the Hallelujah chorus, indeed! I used to play the piano well, and after decades of not playing, my fingers can’t execute what I hear in my mind, so I relate! Loved seeing you in the photo; you are so much younger than I am (rather, I am older than I think of myself 😊). All is well, praise Jesus; we have entered into His rest, and receive the grace to remain, remain, remain…(John 15)

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  8. Babysitting was always a childhood dream of mine. My wife went to see Handel’s Messiah and I didn’t even get a lousy t-shirt. Do they have T-shirts for the Handel’s Messiah tour? 😕
    I’m really happy that you got to go! I’ll watch your kids anytime, I’ll treat them like I would my own.

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  9. I really enjoyed reading this post. It is nice to read something like this near Christmas and be reminded of the real meaning and have my faith affirmed through your words. Very inspirational… so personal and it reads so sincere… love this post!

    just a side note….. I played the clarinet for about 2 years in junior high. It is a very difficult instrument and I can’t believe that after years you were still able to play it. I gave the clarinet up to switch to the saxophone. I remembered how nice it was to have a more relaxed embouchure…. plus the sax seemed cooler. (as you may guess… didn’t stick with the saxophone either… )

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  10. Oh, so beautiful! Yes, I’m with you — I’m 42 and will sometimes lament my own lost childhood and indulge the “if only’s” of my life: If only I had not made these poor choices, if only certain events and anger had not damaged my young emotions, etc. etc. Recently even, I’ve experienced a period of grief over certain little-girl dreams that stand absolutely no chance of being fulfilled in this life. It’s another phase of dying to self — painful but good in the long run.

    Reading this, I was reminded of Isaiah 53:3: that our Lord is a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. I’ve written about this passage before. When I feel utterly lonely and dejected (which happens on occasion, though it grows increasingly rare), I remember that there is no one more lonely or isolated who has walked the earth than our Jesus! I mean, seriously, at least I can relate to others on basic human experiences (hopes, dreams, fears, childbirth, etc.) but who did He have to share such reminisces as, “Remember when we had all power and glory?” 😉 It’s silly, maybe, but in light of Hebrews 4:14-16, it is good to remember that He really does understand our junk!

    Blessings!

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  11. What a wonderful experience during this Advent season. I am currently being blessed with music in my search for JOY, not happiness. There are so many songs that celebrate joy which comes through the strength and love of God, both of which we know we can always count on. Many of us can identify with feelings of regret in the midst of happiness. When that happens to me I try to refocus on living loved. Regardless of how I feel about myself or how others feel about me, God loves me. Amazing!

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  12. I have loved hearing Handel’s “Messiah” for a long time now as well. It really is one of the most awesome and touching moments when they break out in “Hallelujah”, and all stand! Tonight I have the privilege of seeing my daughter perform the Hallelujah chorus along with several other songs tonight at their Jr. High/High School choir concert. I am very excited about it. Thanks for sharing your joy too!

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  13. Oh, the nostalgia that all of you have stirred up here for me. My favorite time of the year as a child was going to Columbus, Ga. to hear the symphony. Then it was a luxury to be able to take lessons for any instrument. I did not start playing piano until I was thirteen, without lessons, when my dad bought me an old piano. It has been a joy to read all these comments. Thinking I was finished with accompanying, when we moved, I was the only one in a small church that could play piano. I’d always preferred singing. For ten years, this was God’s calling for me, just retiring from playing two years ago at the age of 75, it was my joy to experience a level of playing that I had never known before. It is truly the Lord’s gift to anyone who desires to play. Thank you for sharing this with us. ~ Fran

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  14. Handel’s Messiah – WOW. That one will bring tears to my eyes every tim.e. Music so blesses me – I believe that is whay God has me writing songs. I live to praise Him. Studying through the Psalms has been amazing. Thank you for sharing your life on this blog I love your writing style – so glad we connected

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  15. I cannot tell you how much I loved this post. As a girl, I sang in the choir and glee club, then briefly in a diocesan chorus. We did Handel’s Messiah many times. It is an immensely uplifting piece, dear to my heart. Thank you for sharing your beautiful experience. ❤

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  16. A tremendous story! We just can’t always know why our lives take the turns they do. But for whatever reason, we trust that the Lord works for good in the lives of those who love Him…
    Glad you are enjoying a “restoration” of your love of music…

    Steve

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