Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lights under a Bushel

ItI'm pretty sure I started playing the piano at age 5. My mom, my first piano teacher wouldn't start teaching kids until they were 6 and had learned to read. Luckily I had several older sisters who were willing to get me started. They say that most people have no memories before the age of five. That's me. No precognition before five. So and therefore I don't recall a time that I didn't play piano.

My peer group would use the word "talented" to describe me. But me, being me, and knowing how much time and trouble and work it took me to learn and continue learning the piano, I would never call myself talented. So while other girls recognized their God given gifts, I would secretly wonder what mine were.

For reasons I don't want to get into here on my blog, there was a period in my life where I wasn't able to play either the piano or the organ. Surprisingly, I didn't cease to exist as a person. In fact I grew. I grew to be a fair mother, a decent teacher, and something of a technopath.

In retrospect, I no longer chide myself for hiding my light under a bushel. In fact, if my passion for music had not been put on the backburner -- my other talents would have suffocated under its weight.

In times of trouble, when I find myself discouraged that I am not able to do more -- or that I am not the person I hoped I'd be, I turn to John Milton whose dream of being a cleric were dashed by the onset of blindness. How could God allow him to loose his sight when all he ever wanted to do was serve? But once that gift was gone, John Milton the poet was free to develop more. My favorite poem of his is below.

On His Blindness

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg'd with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide,
"Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?"
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: "God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts: who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed
And post o'er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.

On the music front, I am working with the Young Women to arrange songs for instruments anyone can play. Here is our rendition of "I Am a Child of God" for melodica, recorder, and dulcimer (We are practicing so we can play it at girls camp).


  1. Sorry you have ape arms mommy, hahaha it gets funnier if you know all the people in the picture because it is totally like them :D

  2. And I don't mean you have ape arms!

  3. I love the family portrait! I also like the thought of serving in a way we don't expect. I think I need someone to really explain the poem to me. I understand parts of it, but it is very complicated. I'm sure it's beautiful, but why didn't he just say in plain words what he was thinking!

  4. I don't know how this would work for John Milton, but I believe by taking a break from drawing and painting that I will eventually become a better painter.

    I believe the skills I developed a s non painter (detail clerical work) are transferable. Fine art disciplines for beginners focus more on the forest than the trees, and I needed to see the trees.

    I think that for you, it is a bit different and that some day you will be blend all you many talents (music, teaching, writing, computer skills, and being great mom) together.

    I might have been a tad ADHC(attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)growing up, and doing the work I do has definitely improved that issue. Maybe we subconsciously know what we need to do to become whoever we want to be.

    I believe J Milton didn't just say what he meant because it would have detracted from the spirit of what he felt.

  5. Should have proof read before sending. As you can see I am not a natural 'detail' person.