Music has always been an important part of story. It sets the tone of the story’s mood. One of my children is so sensitive to music, that he will start crying in fear as soon as he hears the scary music in a story even before the scary characters are introduced.
When the band starts playing and the flag goes by, a swell of pride beats in a patriot’s heart. Soft music of a lullaby soothes a baby to sleep, and joyful music inspires her to clap or dance.
One of my first arguments with a friend was over music. In our little private school kindergarten room, the teacher opened with “Whisper a Prayer in the Morning.” I loftily sang, “to keep your heart in tune!” while my friend sang equally as loudly, “to keep your heart in two!” A whispered argument over the correct wording ensued until the teacher shushed us.
My music-minded parents decided when I turned five to enroll me in piano lessons. After all, both of my parents played the piano, so why wouldn’t I? My first teacher was a middle-aged lady named Virginia Cripps.
I would enter her home which always smelled of some unfamiliar food and hand her the check my parents hastily scribbled in the car. She placed a bib over my neck that covered the entire piano keyboard so I could not see my hands, and started me on the highly exciting Middle C song per John W. Schaum.
I don’t remember much else about my lessons except her periodic sighs. She would sigh loudly and bury her face in her hands at intervals while I played. It was immensely encouraging.
Two years later, when we moved to another state and my parents found me a new teacher, she listened to what I had learned with Mrs. Cripps and started me in the beginner book again. Except she thought I didn’t know because Thompson wrote this one.
In elementary school, I had the misfortune of sitting beside my teacher during a piano recital. I was able to read the notes she jotted after each child’s performance. To my credit, I didn’t read anyone’s but my own. I don’t remember the exact wording, but it was clear from the notes that I would not walk away with the trophy. And I never did.
Fortunately, I fell in love with music somewhere along the way despite my poor performance and the critiques of others. However, I never quite lost my feeling that I couldn’t measure up to others’ ideals. It has played like one of those annoying tunes that you can’t quite get out of your mind. Maybe you have heard that same song?
I remember sitting in a church service when I was a teenager. A young woman stood to sing a solo. I believe she was talented, but that’s not what I recall. Instead of rejoicing in her beautiful voice, something about her drew me wholly to the words. I still count the hymn she sang as one of my favorites: “Jesus is All the World to Me.” When she sang, I heard the message. I knew intuitively that she believed it which compelled me to believe it, too.
I purposed then, that if I ever sang my story, it would be a story others would believe in. Because they could hear the message. Because they could see that I believed in the message.
Whether my heart is in “tune” or in “two”, whether others appreciate my performance or sigh in frustration at my attempts, no matter what notes they jot down beside my story, I want to keep sharing. To keep giving the message.
Because the story doesn’t come from me. It comes from the Author who penned it with His own blood. And He, truly, is all the world to me.