Sunday, October 31, 2010


A few posts ago I wrote about being the pianist for an upcoming wedding, and being afraid of goofing up. As a matter of fact, I did goof up. During the wedding march. Ouch.

I've been pinch-hitting on the piano at church lately, since our regular pianist has been ill. I'm out of practice and keep hitting clinkers. I look at my hands and lose my place on the page. I look at the notes and lose my place on the keyboard. I feel embarrassed. I wonder if people are thinking, "Ouch."

There's this gentleman, Mark is his name, who often preaches. He's not an ordained minister. He went to seminary for awhile but then suffered an illness, some kind of infection, that caused massive brain damage. Mark has recovered slowly and spectacularly. He drags one foot a little when he walks, and his speech is a little slow and a little slurred, but understandable. He was never able to fnish his ministerial studies, but he pores over his Bible and he prays and he preaches. He sometimes stammers and has trouble getting words out. He loses his place on the page and is silent for several moments recovering it. He reads from the Bible, tangles the words up, and says, "I need to start over," and he does.

His messages are profound. Twice today I wrote in the margin in my Bible what Mark had just said about a verse, and added "BINGO!!" (I'd like to see my descendants when they get their hands on Great-Great-Grandma's Bible and read that!)

What I'm seeing, what hit me as he was delivering what God had laid on his heart, is that.... the mistakes don't matter. Mark has trouble with words and with concentration and with connecting thoughts, but connect them he does, in the most profound and striking manner. Anyone who hears him would understand immediately that he has difficulty and doesn't let it hold him back. It's plainly evident that he's an extremely deep thinker and excellent speaker and devout Christian. No one gets impatient or thinks "Ouch!" or has any response except to what he's actually saying.

So when I hit wrong notes..... it's the same. So I have trouble keeping it coordinated. So I've never been able to learn to put music in front of me and read it right off as I do written words. Anyone listening can tell that I do play the piano, I have a feel for music, I just have trouble delivering it, and despite the mistakes I'm giving it all I've got.

And when I make mistakes in life...... same thing. I know how it should go, I just hit some wrong notes. Just like anyone else. I'm not so special that I don't make mistakes.... and not special because I do. Most goofs really don't matter that much.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this valuable reminder!

(Don't forget that more than likely the congregation is very grateful to have you accompany the singing!)

Anonymous said...

Mistakes are a part of life. Starting over is, too. If I didn't do stuff because I was afraid of mistakes, or not finishing, or doing it wrong, I wouldn't attempt half the stuff I do that ultimately brings me joy, mistakes or no, in the end. I hope your playing brings you and others joy.