Saturday, December 24, 2011

Keep Playing

I was reading a talk by James E. Faust, and he shared a story I've heard several times, but I like it more now. It's similar to some of the things we do in music therapy. But also, its just something important to remember in life, especially for me as a perfectionist. Rather than letting fear of an imperfect performance choke out everything, just play, just act, and trust the Master to change my pretty unimpressive (but continuous) performance into a masterpiece. The beauty comes from Him. But I have a part to play.
"...The answer to those questions may best be given by relating the story of a young piano student. His mother, wishing to encourage him, “bought tickets for a performance of the great Polish pianist, Paderewski. The night of the concert arrived and the mother and son found their seats near the front of the concert hall. While the mother visited with friends, the boy slipped quietly away. 
“Suddenly, it was time for the performance to begin and a single spotlight cut through the darkness of the concert hall to illuminate the grand piano on stage. Only then did the audience notice the little boy on the bench, innocently picking out ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.’ 
“His mother gasped, but before she could move, Paderewski appeared on stage and quickly moved to the keyboard. He whispered to the boy, ‘Don’t quit. Keep playing.’ And then, leaning over, the master reached down with his left hand and began filling in the bass part. Soon his right arm reached around the other side, encircling the child, to add a running obbligato. Together, the old master and the young novice held the crowd mesmerized. 
“In our lives, unpolished though we may be, it is the Master who surrounds us and whispers in our ear, time and time again, ‘Don’t quit. Keep playing.’ And as we do, He augments and supplements until a work of amazing beauty is created. He is right there with all of us, telling us over and over, ‘Keep playing.’”

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Whatever It Takes

This quote brings a lot of feelings back to me, and I really want to share it.
More than forty years ago I had a dream, which I am sure was from the Lord. In this dream I was in the presence of my Savior as he stood in mid-air. He spoke no word to me, but my love for him was such that I have not words to explain. I know that no mortal man can love the Lord as I experienced that love for the Savior unless God reveals it unto him. I would have remained in his presence, but there was a power drawing me away from him, and as a result of that dream I had this feeling, that no matter what might be required at my hands, what the gospel might entail unto me, I would do what I should be asked to do, even to the laying down of my life. 
And so when we read in the scriptures what the Savior said to his disciples:
In my Father's house are many mansions: . . . I go to prepare a place for you . . . that where I am, there ye may be also  (John 14:2-3).
I think that is where I want to be. If only I can be with my Savior and have that same sense of love that I had in that dream, it will be the goal of my existence, the desire of my life. 
George F. Richards, Conference Report, October 1946, pp. 137-141
One of my favorite songs while serving a mission was "Whatever It Takes." It's an EFY song that I think I'm going to try to arrange a version that doesn't sound 90's cheesy. I think all that needs to be taken away is the synthesizer. The song itself is beautiful.

I've had experiences like this one George F. Richards talked about, on a smaller scale, and I hope to have many more. The Savior's love amazes me, and it changes me when I feel it. I hope to be more in tune with Him so I notice it more often. I need to invite more light into my life. And if I can just feel His love, I should have the strength to keep going.

"I'll give up everything I've ever had.
Now that my heart's had a taste of what awaits,
I'll do whatever it takes."