Thursday, May 23, 2013
Counting: the Pathway to Music
Little Will sat at the piano yesterday. The music lay in his lap and a pencil in his hand. He wrote: 1 and (+) 2 and 3 and 4 and 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and .... Over and over he scribbled above every note and beat. You see, Will absolutely LOVES playing the piano. The only problem is that he has refused to count the rhythm. But he's a little boy. He wants to play everything at lightning speed, regardless if the note value warrants half a beat, 2 beats or 4.
Counting. It's one of the first things a mother does when she holds her newborn in her arms. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10. And then again, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10. Then we teach THEM to count. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10. And what a thrill to now hear my own grandson learning his numbers and counting to 10 -- on his toes! But there are other ways we count. Just yesterday, my daughter said, "It only has 60 calories." She was counting. This morning I received a text from my friend that said 2nd chemo treatment is behind her. Counting. And just moments ago, I deducted an entry in my check book and determined how much is left to payday. Counting. We count how many Facebook friends we have. Or how many have unfriended us. We count how many times we have been hurt by a certain individual. Or by life in general.
Many years ago, I sat with an elderly woman in her bedroom. Whereas she once roamed her large house with a strong body, she now was confined to this one room housing her bed, a portable toilet, a dresser, and 2 chairs which were pulled right up to her television where she "watched" the Braves play. She did more listening actually, because she couldn't see them. This was her barren life. Or so it appeared to me. But you see, directly across the street sat the United Methodist Church and every day at noon the carillon bells would begin playing. In her own words, she told me, "One day the bells started playing Count Your Many Blessings, and so I did. But when I got to 100, I got tired and had to quit." Mrs. Aurelia died a few years later, but her story has stuck with me for almost 20 years. She had found the music.
When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
Johnson Oatman, Jr.
Yes, my friend knew the HOPE and LIFE and POWER found in counting her blessings and naming the good gifts of God.
As for Will, he's finally getting it. Like Mrs. Aurelia, he too is realizing that to count means music and the painstaking discipline of numbering the beats is now starting to pay off as Will is finding playing to be even more fun and enjoyable. After all, to play the notes is just sound. But to number the beats is what makes it music.
And you know what? It brings a lot of joy to this teacher as well.
Hmm... Could it be our gift counting also delights the heart of the Father?
Just an ordinary moment...