I just finished a mega cuppa and “The Help”, and with the new year 63 minutes away, I have a little time to set the stage for the new year ahead. Whether or not others are blogging about the same thing is of little consequence to me; I write for myself and not for them, but I welcome you along for the ride–if you don’t mind the scratches on the hood and the duct tape on the seats. Emily Dickinson wrote that “the soul must always stand ajar”, so if you’re okay with both the manicured lawns and the wild tumbleweed within this writer, read on.
59 minutes. The fireworks are already going off around my neighborhood. The clock in my kitchen ticks down every fading second while my cat sleeps away, oblivious. 58 minutes.
I recently read about a young man who took Psalm 90:12 quite literally, calculating his estimation of how long he’d live and then marking off each day in succession. He’d wake up every morning to a new number, each one smaller than the one before. With our days being numbered, why in the world would we be content to wade in the kiddie pool when the wild ocean is right around the corner? Julien Smith, in his book, The Flinch, says that people who live the same way their whole lives might as well be replaced with robots.
Look in the mirror. Do it right now.
If you didn’t look in a mirror, quit reading until you have.
Now, what do you see? Do you see R2D2? C3PO? Millenium Man? Rosey?
I didn’t think so. You see yourself, extra wrinkles, double chins, acne, smile lines, freckles, and all. You see the image of God in you. You were not born to walk around, repeating and then following commands at the behest of your owner. You were born to be the reflection of God Almighty on this earth–the living, breathing, loving, giving, creating God–and you were born to bodysurf the crazy waves, be knocked down sometimes, get your mouth so full of salt water that you nearly choke, and then get back up, yelling, “LET’S DO IT AGAIN!”
I pulled out my keyboard today for the first time in over a year, and I began to play again. Playing the piano had been a dream of mine since I was a little girl, but we moved around so much that it was difficult to find a steady teacher. I finally found one when I was 12, and she let me borrow her keyboard to practice. That Christmas, God sent someone to our door with a brand new Casio, saying that he was moving to Mexico and couldn’t fit the keyboard in his trailer. That keyboard was a thing of beauty, and I played my heart out on it until it was stolen just over a year later. A friend found out about it and gave me hers. While I lived in Honduras, I took lessons again and was given a my favorite Christmas song, “O, Holy Night”, to accompany the choir for Christmas. I practiced hard, excited to play in public for the first time and anxious to honor God with that gift. When I stumbled a bit during practice, however, my teacher told me I wouldn’t be allowed to accompany.
I quit playing for four years. When I picked it back up again in college, my teacher all but told me that I was a rhythmic idiot and derided me constantly about my playing. (While I found out later that this was the same teacher who’d written my piano textbook as his thesis and failed to received his doctorate for failing to include a table of contents, I felt a little better, but at the time, it was no encouragement to play.) Even still, I’d find the piano in the WTAMU student center and play between classes or join Jayme at Chi Alpha and play duets as often as I could. But that was the last year I played…until today. My friend Daisy had given me a keyboard over a year ago, and I had hardly touched it until another friend, Melissa, dared me to get the keyboard out and play until I remembered a song.
I played my favorite Dvorak piece tonight, “Largo” from “New World Symphony”.
What are you going to do with the time you’ve been given, both in the new year and beyond? What if tonight is all you have? What will you have to show for the last night of your life? Will you have reflected your Creator by using what He’s given you and creating? Or will you put it off until tomorrow, until it becomes next week, next month, next semester, next year, …never?
If I can pick up playing the piano again, with God’s help, you can awaken the dormant gifts within you, as well. 31 minutes. What’s your move?
Look back into that mirror. If you see anything but a robot, you have no excuse.