My 16yo daughter plays flute, my 14yo daughter plays oboe. I listen to them sometimes as they practice, and though they play beautifully, I only ever hear their parts in the larger piece of music. To me, it’s a jumble of rests and awkward phrasings, surprise introductions and abrupt stops. They practice a bit mechanically at first, getting the fundamentals, and then I listen as they insert warmth and feeling, despite the isolation of their efforts.
It’s on concert nights when I finally hear what they’ve been hearing in their heads all along – the combination of instruments, talents, pieces, and parts – a symphony, if you will, of sound. I realize how their individual parts fit in, I see how the whole would be vastly different without their singular contributions. To understand, as they understand, that we are brought to greater heights through the exercise of our own limited powers – that’s a gift.
A gift I’ve been able to apply to my own life recently.
Sometimes I feel like a singular instrument, playing a redundant tune, sometimes with feeling, but sometimes by just going through the motions. But it’s the instrument I was given, and I improve upon my talent as I can, and toil away. But sometimes, I’m all I hear.
But every so often, God graces me with an audible glimpse of the symphony. I can hear how the tune I am playing fits into a larger piece of His plan for me. I hear layers of music and find my efforts multiplied, I see what it is I am working towards. It swells, it hushes, it moves me. And when I am once again left alone with my single instrument and my simple tune, I remember. I remember that God has a symphony planned for me, and that every note I play, every day I play it, brings me closer to the greatness He has in store for me.