Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Making Music That Matters

Emma, Age 8

"Many people measure a man’s power or effectiveness by the noise he makes in the world. But this standard is not always correct. The drum makes vastly more noise than the flute, but for true, soul thrilling music and soothing power the flute is a thousand times more effective. "
-J.R. Miller

Here on Fieldcrest Lane, we have chosen to homeschool our children. Not because we think it is the only right way to educate all children, but because we think it is the only right way to educate our children. For now. Probably for always. But even though we choose to homeschool, we still do allow our children out of the basement from time to time for a little social interaction in this great big world. (Kidding, kidding, our house doesn't even have a basement, so have no fear.) Our children have been involved in dance for a number of years, and Kate has recently taken up soccer. Both girls took art and science classes last year through a local homeschool cooperative, and Emma was in a Musical Theatre production. This year we have joined a second co op, in addition to the one we were a part of last year, and our children are also involved in weekly activities and classes through our church. To say they are busy little bee's would be an understatement.

And yet my oldest daughter still looked at me with tears in her eyes last week and told me that she was sad, because she still has yet to find her 'thing' in life. The 'thing' that makes her so happy, she wants to do/or play/or create it forever. The 'thing' that helps to define who she is. The 'thing' that she is known for to others. So even though Emma has tried lots of different activities, and even found several of them to be enjoyable, she still feels a tiny bit lacking inside, because she has yet to find her 'thing'.

I could have told her to relax, reminded her that she is only entering the third grade, so she has plenty of years left in which to discover her 'thing'. I could have told her all of the areas in which I find that she excels and encouraged her to make one of those things, her 'thing'. But I didn't choose either of those options. Instead, I just pulled her close and held her. I had no words. Because I am 30 years old, and sometimes (most of the time) I feel the exact same way. I think to myself, when I find my 'thing', then my life can really begin! When I find my 'thing', people will admire me more, and more people will want to be my friend. When I find my 'thing', then and only then, can life truly be satisfying and good. When I find my 'thing', then I will find peace, where now I feel a lacking. And I am willing to bet that Emma and I are not the only two people on planet Earth who have ever felt this way.

 I believe that most of us want to be the drummer's in this world. We want what we do in life, we want our 'thing' to be noticed by others. We want to make so much noise, we want to be so skilled at our 'thing', that people can't help but look on in awe and wonder. That, to us, is our standard of success. It is how we measure our worth, how we measure how effective our life is. So we keep on drumming. Trying out more and more things, making so much noise in this world that we exhaust ourselves. I see this already happening with my eight year old daughter, and I know it to be truth in my own life.

That's why I love the above quote. Because while a few of us were born to be drummer's, to live life in the lime light, having the opportunity to change the world through a larger sphere of influence than most, I would say that the majority of us were put here to play the flute. Perhaps we lead quieter lives. Perhaps our sphere of influence doesn't go beyond our family and close friends. Perhaps, to most, we look ordinary. But that doesn't mean that the music we make with our lives can't be just as beautiful or stunning.

I think I will share this quote with my daughter. With all of my children, actually. Perhaps it will be the first thing that we memorize once school starts back up in the next couple of weeks. I want to drill it in to my children's heads, and most importantly, in to their hearts, that their lives matter. That they are each unique, and beautiful, created by God to love Him and to love others in this world. I want to remind them that the only real point of this life is to point to Him, no matter what they do, be it drumming or flute playing. I want my children to know that they most certainly don't need a 'thing' to make their lives matter. They need to know that it is okay if the world doesn't appreciate them, doesn't see them for who they are, instead of only noticing them for what they do. Because God sees. And He hears. too. He hears every single note that we play. All my children need to do, all any of us need to do, really, is to keep making music with our lives for Him. We will write the notes, and He will direct the symphony. And I have no doubt that all of it will be soul thrilling.