Monday, September 28, 2009

Gossamer girlhood dreams turned reality

(Written on August 11, 2009, during my last week at camp.)

This evening we did something a little different at supper. A middle-aged couple had gotten married during the year and the campers wanted to have a wedding reception for them. Out came the flowers, candles, pretty napkins, and other wedding finery. I ran around scrounging up supplies and helping to circumnavigate a small crisis when our conventional-sized oven ran out of gas.

After the "bride and groom" arrived, I sat down to play background wedding music with Bekah and Joel. Mom had faxed some classical duets and trios and we managed to make a makeshift music stand out of a high-chair and a tray (don't ask me why we don't have any music stands at camp, it's beyond me!) About the time we began playing Canon in D, three young girls started playing dress up with the decorations. Seeing how those repetitive eight notes are the bane of any cello players existence, I promptly went into "musical autopilot" and began to watch the young campers who were enthralled with their new discovery.

One girl took a long piece of the gossamer netting that had been placed on the tables and pinned it to her hair like a veil. She then wrapped lengths of the fabric around her waist like a skirt and tied it in a bow behind her back. Silver and blue ribbons found their place in her hair and her eyes matched their glittering display. The other girls began to follow suite, and pretty soon, each one was adorned in their wedding finery. Their faces were glowing and they skipped from parent to parent, displaying for them the gossamer evidence of their big dreams.

By this time Canon in D was long over, but I kept being distracted by these young, innocent girls giggling in their bliss. Their joy bubbled over as they talked about brides, weddings, and the intricacies of veil arranging.

As I watched, I remembered my own girlhood days, the dreams I had, and the games I would play. I remember a beautiful white dress that I had from a cousin's wedding in which I was the flower girl. That dress was one of my most treasured possessions. I wore it for as long as I could, even after it ripped down the back and had juice stains all over the front. Wearing it made me feel beautiful, free, and vibrant. I would dance around the house, dreaming big dreams about a perfect wedding with a perfect dress and perfect flowers.

As I grew older, weddings lost their enchantment. Joel and I have been asked to play in weddings ever since we were little kids and it quickly became old news. "Oh, another wedding? Ok. Practice? Nah, let's just sight-read. We'll be fine." I began to see all the fuss, expense, and unneeded extravagance for what it really was: cheap bauble. Weddings these days seem so fake, so shallow, so devoid of meaning. I was no longer a little girl playing make-believe; I was no longer innocent and full of life, twirling around in my white dress, oblivious to the effects of sin.

Jerked back to reality by a missed accidental in the piece we were currently playing, I began to draw parallels between those little girls dancing around in their dress-up wedding gowns and the way we are supposed to be as Christians.

In the comments of a previous post, my Grammy recommended that I read Union and Communion by Hudson Taylor, a commentary on the Song of Solomon. When my Grammy recommends a book, I take it very seriously because she is very well-read and has excellent taste in quality literature. So I looked up the book, which is available free online, and printed off a copy, hence the reason I began to think about the spiritual applications of every girl's longing to someday be a beautiful bride.

In the Bible, Christ is compared to a bridegroom and the church as His bride. I am Christ's bride. You are Christ's bride. But how often do we approach Christ with the attitude that a literal bride has when she goes to meet her husband? A bride goes with anticipation and joy. She spares no expense in getting ready to see her groom, putting on her finest gown and perfume. She will do everything in her power to bring him joy. Her eyes sparkle, her face is glowing. She is radiant because the one waiting for her is the delight of her life. She is enchanted by his very presence and she has an insatiable desire for his company.

Do I approach God that way? Do I long for one-on-one time with Him or is an hour in church once a week long enough? Is He my delight? Do I approach him because I need something or because I want to bring Him joy? Do I give Him the best, the most precious part of my day? Do I demonstrate my love for Him with actions, as well as words?

I must admit, learning about Christ as the church's Bridegroom has cast a completely different light on weddings and I'm not nearly as cynical as I once was. But more importantly, I am learning to be a bride right here, right now. Because I've already found my Groom and He's been waiting patiently for some time now. He's been trying to get my attention but I keep getting distracted playing the harlot. But His loving, tender persistence is finally having an effect and I am ready to make Him my sole delight. Are you?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Kayaking in the courts of heaven

I went kayaking this afternoon. In reality, I should have been studying for my Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing class or doing G.Chem homework or, better yet, getting some much needed sleep (we drove all Saturday night coming back from a SEYC promotional trip to Shenandoah Valley Academy.) But instead, the afternoon found me playing in the rapids of the Hiwassee river. (Allana can be very persuasive! :)

Do I regret it? Not in the least! And I even got my combat roll down! (That's when the rapids flip you upside down and you successfully roll your kayak back over without having to bail. It's called a "combat" roll because it's done while being pushed along by the strong current and not simply performed in still water.)

This small, seemingly insignificant update is an illustration of something God has been teaching me this semester. Relationships trump everything else. God put us here on earth to build relationships and to reach other humans with our testimony. We can't share our testimony without first building a trusting relationship. And we can't build relationships without investing time. And investing time into relationships means putting them higher on the "priority" list then might be considered "prudent" by the world's competitive arena. But I am looking ahead to the heavenly courts where resume' s, GPA, and all the high honors in the world will mean little if relationships haven't been built.

Look what I found!

It's Kyrgyzstan's national anthem! Sweet! :D

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Plan

Yep, it's that time of year again. Seating auditions are fast approaching. (See this post for last year's reaction.) Sunday afternoon at 1:32 pm, I will walk through that oh-so-scary door to see Mrs. Minner's beaming face. But something's different this time because this year will be my last seating auditions with dear Mrs. Minner.

I'm rather nostalgic about that fact. It's sad. For all my fear and trepidation of said auditions, this last one means that I really am a Senior. There will be no more SAU orchestra for me after this year. No more laughing at Mrs. Minner's silly jokes and crazy puns. No more joking with Allana or stealing her shoes. No more awesome, powerful cello section. Sad...

I learned recently in Ancient Classics that there are two main ways to break down barriers between humans. Two ways to get everyone on the same page and create comradeship: Laughter and tears. In this case, I think I'd like to work on the laughter option.

So here's the plan. On Sunday, I'm going to walk into Mrs. Minner's office with confidence. I'm going to sit down, look her in the eye, and tell her that this is my last audition and that I am determined not to leave it crying. I'm going to tell her how scared I have always been but how this year is going to be different. I'm going to tell her how much I've appreciated her leadership, her genuine joy, her depth, and her awesome commentary during practice.

Hopefully, she'll laugh. And barriers will come down. And then I'll be able to play my cello freely and joyfully, with no choking up of my throat or tears welling in my eyes. I'll probably do just about the same as I've always done, but I think it's going to be a much better experience! Wish me luck! (or better yet, wish me good intonation! ;D)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Time is relative

These two pictures represent a massive amount of my time today. Over nine hours, to be exact. Nine hours out of the 17.5 hours I've been awake. Interesting...

I've been thinking about time lately. I suppose it was spurred on by something John, Luther, Alice, and I were talking about on Sabbath. We were remembering how when we were little, one year took FOREVERRRRRRR to pass by. It crawled by so slowly and represented a big proportion of our life. But now, one year flies by so fast that we hardly have time to notice. The ratio of one year to total years we've lived (1 yr/age) is growing smaller and smaller. A logical conclusion to this reality would be that time is relative to one's age and outlook on life.

But wait, time can't be relative. Because there is 1000 milliseconds in a second, 60 seconds to a minute, 60 minutes to an hour, and 24 hours to a day. Those are exacts. So no, time cannot be relative.