Wednesday, January 19, 2011

the music of a habit

When I was in the third grade, my parents rented a violin and I took school.   I remember the feel of the resin on the bow....the smell, the fit under my chin.   the little case.  

 I had wanted to play the cello.  It being so big and me being so small, my mother agreed on the violin.

In my third grade class there were only a few of us that participated in the music program.  There was another little girl, with long, perfectly curled hair, and lovely clothes, and me who chose the violin.  Our third grade class moved from room to room, with teachers for different subjects, much like middle school and high school today.   In our math class. the teacher asked if we would bring our violins one day and play for the class.

I was thrilled, excited.  I practiced Mary had a little lamb, to the best of my ability (which being a beginning, was not that good) but I practiced up to the anticipated day.  That day, my blonde haired friend and I walked up to the front of the class with our cute little cases and started to open them, ready to play...when, my math teacher, said, looking at me, " Oh, I did not mean YOU.  I meant just her."   I stood, tears filling my eyes, confused... even now I am appalled by his insensitive cruelty.  With a class full of 8 year olds, no one to call him to the task of being civil...he let out a big sigh...and said, "Oh, well, go ahead."   I then proceeded, with my blonde friend, to play the screechiest version of Mary had a little lamb that ever echoed in a class room.    I don't remember if any one clapped, I don't remember the rest of that day, or year..(except for one other meanspirited action by that same teacher.).      The violin lessons stopped.  We moved away.   45 years later, I still finger the tenderness of that wound.  I do not remember ever really developing the habit of practicing except for that one "concert".

Today, I was listening to an audio book in the car, Mark Buchanan's Holy Wild.  (highly recommended).   In part 2 of the book, he has started talking about habits and practice.   How we agree easily that to become good with the violin, we must practice... 

{when I heard those words, I could smell the wood of my violin, feel the resin on the bow.  My soul was literally hungry to rent a violin, take lessons and prove my math teacher wrong...prove that I am of worth and a daughter of the king... who knows maybe I will, with practice). 

... if we take on a new sport, run a marathon, we practice, we train.  But we forget, or may not even agree, that for our spiritual life, for our venture out into the Holy Wild with God, we need to practice Holy well.   Steve Farrer talks about this in his book Finishing Strong.   And Ann Voskamp has been sharing Habits in the new year.   These habits, produce in our life, the pull to run with God...the music of our spiritual walk with Him.

I posted about the first two last week: memorizing God's word,  consider the beauty of God all around us, and today she talks about prayer. 

Prayer has become such a forefront topic with me lately, as I am reading Philip Yancey's book on Prayer and trying to sort out my thoughts on the subject.   I have found myself, in the new year, mercifully released from my guilt-laden performance expectations that distanced me from God, and entering in to a close, sweet, constant conversation with my heavenly Daddy.   I love this journey of prayer.  The moments of whispers...some pleas, some regret spoken, some a giggle at an inside joke and some holy awareness.  He is, He loves, He cares.

My memorization verse this half of the month is a prayer of praise and affirmation as well (Eph 3:20,21)

Now to Him who is able to do immeasureably more than all we ask or imagine according to His power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and Jesus Christ throughout all generations, forever and ever.  Amen.

  Now to you Jesus, to you Abba, powerfully working within us...far beyond what my prayers might whisper, what my heart might even dare to show yourself in us...and in Jesus in my parents, in me, in my children, and their children and grandchildren...for ever...  Thank you.

You can read other's thoughts on this topic at Ann's site.

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