Friday, May 11, 2012

The Warm-Up

I am the mom of 3 violinists. Well, let me correct that-- I am the mom who yells at 3 girls to practice the violin while I hear them say, "I wish I played the piano." That sounds more accurate.

I haven't ever stopped to consider how many violins there are around here. They have been here so long, they've just become part of the scenery. Ordinary. Part of life.

I looked at the cases the other day and decided to line them up. Just to see what they would look like. Gently placed, ordered by size. Lovely and quiet. I stood back and wished my life looked like those 3 violins. In order, placed just so, pretty to look at.

But life isn't about the order and the pretty, is it? No, it more defined by the daily battle to practice and the yelling that precedes it. That's the truth of it. Life is consumed by the ugly and hard parts. Pretty tends to show up at unexpected, small moments. And then things settle back to the regular rough and crazy.

I've been to my fair share of violin performances over the years. I've listened to endless notes sung by a bow. But, do you want to know my favorite violin sound? The warm-up. I know, it's weird.

Before every concert, every recital, all the violins are being tuned, all the violinists are practicing various parts of music. And they are all playing at once. No order. No conductor. Nothing staged or pretty. Just every violinist playing their own violin, in their own way. And when they join all together, without fanfare or worry of what their performance means, beauty transcends.

I tend to want my life to look like the polished performance. Pretty, ordered, finished and touched. But really, truly, my life feels like the warm-up. More of a beautiful chaos. One that requires constant tuning, adjustments and practice. I feel like most days, I can't ever reach up and out of the warm-up. I can't ever make my way into performance ready.

But maybe that's the point. Maybe life isn't about the end game. Sure, that's the goal. But maybe it's not the purpose. Perhaps the soul of life comes from the warm-up. From the tuning and the practicing and all the yelling it takes to get there. Maybe, just maybe, that's what makes the polished performance even possible. The rough and the crazy are the only things that let the pretty and ordered shine through.

What would life look like if we all decided to warm-up and tune together? All playing at once, all in our own way, each with their own music? Somehow, I think that that kind of beauty just might be the truest purpose of all.

Play your own notes. Without fanfare, without polished performance. Play and let your music ring true.

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