The time finally came for my flight to Seattle. It had been two long years since I had visited my son and his family. Even though we had enjoyed their summer visits to Georgia, there is something special about being in the rhythm of their daily lives. There was much to catch up with and one important thing was that my granddaughter Sadie had joined the band and learned to play the flute. My private Saturday morning concert struck more than one chord in my heart.
One after another, she flipped through her book playing all of the songs she had learned. I didn’t know I was about to experience more than a musical concert, but some valuable lessons for life.
Not only did she play the flute all grown up, but her conversation sounded so mature. After playing each piece, she would tell me all about the difficulty level, how long it took to learn and how tiring it was to learn to play. She made it look effortless but as she described how much air it takes to play the flute, I knew looks were deceiving.
In the beginning days of learning, band practice was hard, boring and exhausting. Her breaths were short and choppy and then suddenly one day she realized she could play a stretch of notes without a breath. Through hours of practice and perseverance she had expanded her lungs and developed her breathing to endure a long bar of notes.
As I listened to the sweet sounds of music and her wise words, the notes pressed something within my heart. I couldn’t help but think of how easy it is to quit when things get difficult. When all you seem to hear are squeaky notes and the band directors words “from the beginning, now let’s do that again.” Hard, boring, tedious, exhausting...if only we could press through the squeaky notes of life until we discover the song. Besides, it’s in the pressing through the hard that a song is born.
Sadie had saved her most difficult piece for last. She began by telling me how long it had taken them to learn it and how hard it had been, but now it had become her favorite. She explained that when she took the long pause this was where the trumpets would play. With great enthusiasm she described how good it sounds when the entire band plays together. “There are only three flutes and all the other instruments can be pretty loud.” And then came the crescendo moment for me. “Of course I have never heard the band without me, but I am sure that it wouldn’t sound the same without the flutes. I know my one flute sounds pretty quiet right now, but three flutes can actually be quite loud.” This spoken truth that showed wisdom beyond her years was a beautiful treasure for us at any age.
I matter! My one-life matters.
The part I play in unison with others is valuable.
I am an instrument of God and my notes in the song matter to this world.
I am fearfully and wonderfully made by God. There is great purpose within me to impact this world with His great love.
I knew when she spoke it that it was worth pondering. What profound spiritual truth Sadie had spoken.
“From Him the whole body is fitted and held together by every supporting ligament; and as each individual part does its work, the body grows and builds itself up in love.” Ephesians 4:16
The band is a wonderful picture of the body of Christ working together as one. Within this body of Christ, we have all been given gifts. (1 Corinthians 12) We are important and have a specific part to play. If only we could be confident and assured of our part in the kingdom of God.
Lessons Learned From Sadie:
Just be who God created you to be and play your beautiful part.
Persevere. Endure. Practice. Repeat.
Don’t quit when it gets hard, because you are a part of something beautiful and glorious.
Don’t stop when you are tired and winded.
Press in to the very end.
Take time to pause and hear the other instruments play their part.
As you do, you will come to know your place in the kingdom.
Breathe deeply of His love, and allow God to expand your heart to love more.
And be ready when it is time to join in to make one great big glorious sound for the glory of God.
Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.