Tag Archives: playing the piano

I didn’t finish…

I have to admit that while I am a Summer Olympic Games fanatic, the Winter Olympic Games definitely have a few personal highlights: figure skating, luge, curling (which was never aired this year at normal hours; I could never get myself out of bed at 3:30am to watch the event…sad) and a new fascination for Slopestyle skiing. Not being naturally talented at any of these, or any other events for that matter, my most common response while watching the performances went as such: “That’s INSANE!” Yes, pretty much insane, but this is what these athletes train for–the dream, the passion, the Olympic moment.

During these games, I realized that I sympathized with the athletes who had a hard time performing in their events–not being able to land their jumps and twists, coming in a split second short of being on the medal podium, the emotions of personal background stories of their own family losses…these moments remind you that even the greatest athletes are human. And while there were many memorable moments to celebrate in outstanding performance victories, I believe the greatest victories were evident from the athletes who struggled. They fell down, yet picked themselves up to finish their performance. It showed true determination. True victory.

I was most impressed by the figure skating performances. Now, I have a hard enough time standing and balancing on my own two feet as it is…so if shoes consist of having attached blades, wheels or anything that causes movement–such as skis or snowboards–I don’t touch them. But this was not always the case. Growing up, I did enjoy skiing (I learned to ski at age six and skied through high school years), a little snowboarding (until mid-college days when my balance turned for worse), rollerblading, ice skating (we had a frozen pond out in the back field or we used the ditch across the road), and roller skating (except the last memory, in which I took a fall at the YMCA center leaving me unable to get up on my own and a trip to the ER: thus, it confirmed that my days of moving feet business were over!)

ice skating

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Being somewhat a helpless romantic when it comes to either ballet or figure skating–and maybe combination that this Olympics, due to deafness, I couldn’t hear the figure skating music–I started to think of songs that I would perform my routines to in the event that I was a figure skater. For a short program, because judges score on technical activity, I thought fun songs, such as “I have Confidence” from the Sound of Music or “Linus and Lucy” from The Peanuts would be lively. And the long, free skate program: “Moonlight Sonata” by Beethoven! It is a deep emotional song…a performance could be so lavishing.

I did perform “Moonlight Sonata” my senior year of high school; not in a free skate performance, but for my senior piano recital. I had been playing piano since the first grade. I had memorized pieces of Bach and Beethoven in the past, but “Moonlight Sonata” was my last. I memorized the music, practiced until I felt secure in the music, and set out for my performance. I am not one for audiences. I tried to calm my nerves. The piano faced the wall. I was staring in white. I started to play with shaking hands. ¬†“Moonlight Sonata ” is not a fast tempo music. It is a slow tempo…deep emotions. I let my mind wander for a split second in which I lost my concentration. My mind went as blank and white as the wall I faced.

I stop and turn to the audience. “I need to start over.” I get nice reassuring smiles. By now I cannot get my mind and thoughts to relax. I restart the piece, but struggle in mid-way…again my mind goes blank. I feel a flush flow to my face turning my cheeks red and stinging tears about to drop from my eyes. To avoid crying on stage, I simply get up from the bench, take a slight bow, and return to my seat. My dad whispers, “Don’t cry. They are going to take group pictures,” and gently puts his arm around my shoulders. Too late. Tears abound. No one mentioned my performance. People understood. But I held it against myself: I didn’t finish.

There are days when I ask God how I am to finish the task set before me, when I feel as if my physical body simply is just staring into a blank white wall. Circumstances seem too difficult, uncertainties leave room for doubts and questions of my abilities. I still struggle with wanting to be doing bigger things, but was reminded graciously that if I am faithful in the small, God will reward with more when I am ready. Olympians are not made overnight. They train in the small daily tasks for years…with the reward of a bigger performance than they ever imagined.

The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.

~Pierre Coubertin, founder of the International Olympic Committee; “Father of modern Olympic Games.”

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One step at a time.

Guess what happened at Physical Therapy today!?!?!?!

I WALKED IN A STRAIGHT LINE…ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF ANOTHER FOOT!!!!

Last time I have been able to do that was right after my surgery…freshman year of high school. Wow. ūüôā It was not fast and I was super wobbly, but I did it! All the practice of¬†standing on one foot and other balance exercises have paid off.¬†It must have looked something like a baby taking the first steps on their own. I was the only one in the room too! Usually the room is full of other patients. But no one saw it: only me, my PTA and God. ūüôā

Habakkuk 3:19 says, “The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.”¬†My weak¬†ankles reminds me of another girl with weak ankles: Much Afraid. Have you ever read Hannah Hurnard’s classic work, Hind’s Feet on High¬†Places? Much Afraid is the main character. Although I have never read the¬†original book, I grew up on the¬†junior book¬†aimed for¬†children or teens.¬†I remember her journey…from the¬†Valley of Humiliation to the High Places. Her companions are¬†“Sorrow” and¬†“Suffering.” The journey is hard.¬†But when she makes it to the High Places, the¬†Shepherd is there. Such abounding¬†joy follows.¬†You can read the first chapter here: http://files.tyndale.com/thpdata/FirstChapters/978-0-8423-1394-0.pdf. If you enjoy that then I really recommend the book. I look forward to reading it soon myself!

I find that I can be like¬†Much Afraid: timid, physically challenged (she has weak–and I believe crooked–ankles as well), set out on a hard journey and¬†there are some days¬†where¬†the¬†mind tells the body: “You¬†will never make it.” I have been there. Life is hard.¬†The joy of the celebration of Easter means that my companions do not have¬†to be¬†“Sorrow” and “Suffering”; although Jesus never said that¬†I would NOT have them, but to have hope–because He is greater than these things. Jesus conquered death. I do not need to fear even in spite of them: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.‚ÄĚ John 16:33 [Italics emphasized].

Much Afraid’s story reminds me of my favorite song. Ever. I know¬†I have said that I have many favorite songs, but this–this is my life song (so to speak). When I was little, I wanted to learn how to play it on the piano and sing it in church.¬†It is by Cindy Morgan called, “I Will Be Free.” Instead of my own explanation, I thought it would be better for you to just read the lyrics. I also found a great video of her playing live, so you can hear the song and read the words at the same time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ySp0gktlN4.

The mountains are steep and the valley’s low

And already I’m weary but I have so far to go

Oh, and sorrow holds my hand and suffering sings me songs

But when I close my eyes I know to whom I belong

And who makes me strong

I will be free, I will be free to run the mountains

I will be free, free to drink from the living fountain

Oh, I’ll never turn back ’cause he awaits for me

Oh, I will be free

A wise man, a rich man in pauper’s clothes

A shepherd to lead us through the land of woes

Though many battles I have lost, so many rivers yet to cross

But my eyes behold the Son who bore my loss and who paid the cost

I will be free, I will be free to run the mountains

I will be free, oh, free to drink from the living fountain

Oh, I’ll never turn back ’cause He awaits for me, oh

Oh, I will be free, oh

Oh and I’ll dance on silver moonlight and I’ll walk through velvet fields

Oh, and I’ll run into the arms, the arms that set me free

Oh, I will be free to run the mountains, I will be free

Free to drink from the living fountain

Oh, I’ll never turn back ’cause He awaits, oh I’ll never turn back

Don’t you ever turn back ‘Cause someday, someday we’re gonna see

That we will be free

[“I Will Be Free.” Cindy Morgan. A Reason to Live. Sony, 1993.]

Have a blessed Easter weekend. I will continue my thoughts on life next week…

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Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Books and Movies