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 My mother, though, could probably tell you all about the days I sat at the piano withdrawn, somber, and trying to master the most difficult pieces of Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata’.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.