Imagine a world where everyone understands the value in their own uniqueness…a world where everyone BELIEVES they are fearfully and wonderfully made.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14
The palms of my hands were damp, sweaty and shaking at this point. I had waited months for this day, but now that it was finally here, I was unbelievably nervous and couldn’t help but doubt my decision. What decision, you might ask? The crazy and idiotic decision to play the piano in church WITHOUT sheet music. You see, as a young girl, I would never even have thought of doing this if it wouldn’t have been for a boy named Johnny Kalman.
Johnny Kalman was a rare individual to say the least. He was kind, thoughtful and EXTREMELY gifted at playing the piano…WITHOUT sheet music. (Are you starting to get an idea of where I am going with this?) I couldn’t help but notice people’s faces, watching in awe as he would play beautiful musical pieces completely by ear.
Needless to say, playing with sheet music would no longer be acceptable for me. I would be like Johnny; I would be playing with no sheet music or not playing in church AT ALL.
Sound like a secure individual? Sound like a person with their heart in the right place for serving? I think not, but at my defense, I was young and dumb. Young or not, I was about to learn a lesson the only way I seemed to know how; the hard way.
You could have heard a pin drop. The silence was deafening, but I started playing. I had practiced the hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” for 2 months straight. It was time to show my church family I was JUST as talented as Johnny; I too, could play without sheet music.
It was time. My dad announced I had a special musical number to share, and motioned me to the piano. I sat down, breathed in deep, tried to stay calm and started playing. Everything was going smoothly. I was finishing up the second verse and knew I was on the final stretch. Only one more verse to go and I would be in “Johnny’s” category of success.
As I came to the final notes of the song, panic hit. I had COMPLETELY forgot the ending chord to the beloved hymn. How could this be happening to me? All the piano keys began to taunt me saying, “Pick me, pick me… I’m the one you want.”
I. Could. Not. Remember. The. Final. Chord. To. Save. My. Life.
I did the first and only thing I knew to do; start the song over. A few minutes seemed like eternity. As I drew near to the ending chord, once again, I couldn’t remember it. This was a nightmare. A disaster. If ONLY I had brought my sheet music; I could glance up quickly and save my dignity, but that would not be happening today. Obviously, the Lord was more interested in saving my character than my dignity. Today, I would just be thankful if the congregation didn’t notice the extra 3 verses I had tacked on to the original hymn.
I was getting hot, nauseous and desperate. I needed help and I needed it quick. Somehow, someway, I came up with a “humbling” finish, but now I am convinced it was the Spirit “cueing” me to just eat “crow” and finish the bloody song.
After the 7th time around, I ended on “middle C”, got up and walked back to my seat. There was only ONE thing I was convinced of at this point… I would never play WITHOUT sheet music again!
I STILL laugh every time I think about that experience; it was absolutely awful! But, I learned an extremely valuable lesson on “being yourself”.
How often do we find ourselves wasting precious time, energy and resources trying to be someone that we aren’t? Instead of believing we are completely unique and bring different talents and abilities to the world, we seem to only notice what we do NOT bring to the table.
I TRUELY believe this is why “This Is Me”, a song off the movie “The Greatest Showman” resonates with so many people. Our tendency is to compare ourselves with others; we measure our worth by comparing ourselves to their talents and gifting, instead of recognizing and thanking God for our own.
Many times, we have to carry rejection from ourselves and others and stare in its ugly face before we can completely accept and celebrate who God created us to be.
Perhaps you feel as if you will never accomplish anything great…anything of lasting value. If so, a quote by Mother Theresa targets this exact concern:
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with GREAT love.” –Mother Theresa
If you’re reading this right now and feeling like you don’t measure up to everyone else around you, take a moment to remember this fact. The God of the universe who created ALL things, and encompasses ALL gifts and abilities…created and loves YOU!
Carpe Diem, my precious friends!