By Angela W Kleven
Growing up, I was taught how to play the piano. I enjoyed it, but was not passionate about it, and therefore learned just what I needed to know to get by. I could accompany someone if the song was easy and I had a month to practice. Every time I volunteered as a pianist, I became extremely nervous. My hands shook, my stomach turned, and I had a hard time focusing on the notes in front of me. I preferred to play alone at home and to play the songs that I already knew.
Six years ago, the leaders of the local congregation in my church asked me to learn how to play the organ. Seriously? The organ? I hardly ever played the piano at church and my performance was mediocre at best. After an extensive internal struggle, I agreed. I bought a pair of organ shoes and an organ hymnal, and sought the mentoring of a successful organist. The class was small with only three participants. Our instructor was kind and patient and loved the instrument. Her passion and dedication shone through and eventually I began to relax and enjoy this new challenge.
One year later my children and I moved across town. After just one Sunday at church, I was asked to join the rotation of organists. The request terrified me, but I knew that they truly needed whatever talent I had, however small, rough, and unpolished it was.
Throughout the course of that next year I learned a great lesson about the Law of Rhythm. This natural law states that there is an ebb and flow to everything in life, natural highs and lows. This is clearly evident in nature, and I have found that it is also true in our daily experiences.
When I began taking organ lessons, the experience was incredibly difficult for me on all levels. After just a few classes, I wanted to quit, throw away my shoes, and burn my book. Nevertheless, I persevered. Eventually I gained confidence and my skill improved. This same pattern repeated itself as I began to play the organ for church. In the beginning, my anxiety was so high that whenever I sat down to play I felt my stomach lurch and my hands shook so badly that most of the songs sounded like a funeral march. Once I even dreamed that I showed up late for church having just stepped out of the shower and wearing a bathrobe! Because the Law of Rhythm is constant and because I never quit, my confidence and skill slowly increased and I was eventually able to enjoy the music.
Understanding this law has blessed my life in many ways. I learned to recognize this pattern and the natural progression from difficult to easy and from challenging to fun. With this knowledge, I have been willing to accept new assignments and challenges. I have taken many classes, become a mentor and teacher, learned several new skills, created new relationships, started a new business, diversified my employment, and much more. I know now that that even though things are hard, if I just keep practicing and never ever give up, it will become easier and even enjoyable.
Last month my 12-year-old son went on his first backpacking hike and camp out with his scout troop. When he came home, he was exhausted and every muscle ached. One week ago he found out that his troop is backpacking again. He immediately turned to me and begged me not to make him go and was adamant that it was too hard; apparently he barely survived the first time. With a smile on my face, I pulled him in close and reassured him that it would not always be so hard if he simply decides to just keep going and never give up.