Flashback Friday – Pursuing

This was originally posted on my blog on July 6, 2012

Ecclesiastes 3:1 – “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”

Everyone of us is in pursuit of something.  Some of us are aware of it, some of us are not.  Some of us might need to rethink what we’re pursuing and some of us might need to challenge ourselves by pursuing something that requires a little more effort.

When I say everyone, I mean everyone.  The guy sitting in his chair, watching his favorite team?  He’s pursuing that perfect moment of relaxation.   The woman running herself ragged working outside the home, trying to be keep her house perfectly, spotlessly ready for company and over-scheduling her own life and her kids?  She’s pursuing the title of “Best Mom Ever”.  Don’t get me wrong – there are those who pursue good things too.  Enough money to support their families, good health, a healthy relationship.

There is nothing wrong with relaxing, wanting a tidy home, seeking to take care of your financial obligations and so on.  The danger comes when the thing we are pursuing begins to control EVERY aspect of our lives.

So what’s the answer?  Sitting back and pursuing nothing is certainly a horrible idea!  But so is choosing our pursuits based on the preferences of others.  Others don’t have to face the consequences – good or bad- of the choices that I make so I certainly do not let them make those choices for me.

The key is something I’m STILL trying to learn – balance.  If you have relaxed to the point that you can barely get out of your chair because you have gotten stiff from sitting there too long, you’re out of balance.  If you resent the activities your kids are in and don’t really even enjoy your tidy home, you’re out of balance.  If you have enough money to support your family but continue to work extra hours just to chase more money, that’s out of balance.  You get the idea!

Human beings have an intellect.  They can make informed decisions and choose how best to spend their time.  In that choosing, we must be mindful of the fact that we also have emotions, a soul, and the need for relationship.  Our hobbies, passions, likes and dislikes all fit in there to make a complete, well-rounded person.  I challenge myself – and you – to pursue with both passion AND balance.  I challenge us to set goals that will push us to achieve new and exciting things or get us closer to getting all the laundry done on the same day we start it!  Lastly – and maybe most importantly – I challenge us to recognize the seasons in our lives and change with them!

Just for Me . . . Can I Do That?!

I was having a conversation with myself earlier today.  Don’t laugh.  I’m not the only person that talks to herself.  Others have told me they do it too.  Now, if you want to question our sanity, that is an altogether different topic of discussion!  But I digress.

The most recent conversation went something like this –

Me – Excuse me, self?

Self – Yes.

Me – Ya’ wanna know what I miss most from my “growing up” years?

Self – What?

Me – Piano lessons and practicing.

Self – *disbelieving pause* Come again?!

Me – Yeah.  I miss having weekly lessons and having someone – or a couple of someone’s – holding me accountable for practicing during the week.

Self – But there were SEVERAL occasions during the earlier years when we would throw a bit of a fit when it came to practice.

Me – Well . . . yeah.  But in middle school and high school?  We actually liked it then!

Self – True.  It was fun to conquer a really hard piece and see the progress.

Me – Oh!  And remember Senior year?!  Worked ALONE to get a piece ready for Solo and Ensemble and actually got a Division I rating?!

Self – I’ll never forget that!  That Mozart piece was still a personal favorite.

Me – I know, right?!

Self – So why did we stop practicing like that?  We’re a responsible adult now, we could set our own practice expectations.  Why don’t we.

Me – It’s selfish.

Self – *pause* Huh?!

Me – It’s selfish.  There is a family to take care of and work responsibilities.  I mean, we still have rehearsing we have to do for the choral accompanist gigs and the music theater jobs.

Self – But it’s not the same.

Me – *sigh* No.  It’s not even close.

Self – I still don’t get the selfish part.

Me – I’m a wife. A parent. I have responsibilities.  The kind of songs I would want to learn would mean longer practice sessions and that feels like I’m cheating others out of my time or cheating on my responsibilities.

Self – *pause of disbelief* Are you kidding me?

Me – What?

Self – That’s nonsense!  You are an individual with a unique identity that existed before your roles as wife, mother, employee, volunteer, etc.  There is nothing selfish about making sure you don’t stagnate; that your identity continues to exist!

Me – Well, when you put it that way . . . 

Self – So what piece are you going to assign yourself?

Me – Huh?

Self – Now that we have that silly “it’s selfish” nonsense dealt with, what piece are you going to set aside time to learn?

Me – I won’t have anywhere to perform it.

Self – So what?!  Is the purpose a performance or feeding your heart?!  

Me – *feeling a little ashamed* Feeding my heart

Self – Okay.  So I’m asking you again – what piece are you going to start working on.

Me – Well, I haven’t finished learning Moonlight Sonata.  And I still have a copy of Clair de Lune, and I’ve always wanted to . . .

Self – Now you’re talking.

I think you get the point.  This is for me.  The me that existed before wedding vows and nine months of waiting added pieces to my identity that I prize beyond words  The me that has found solace, comfort, consolation, and joy by simply coaxing notes and rhythms from 88 black and white keys.  The piano has always been my favorite instrument and sometimes even felt like a best friend!  In recent years, I’ve restricted my rehearsal moments to those that would benefit others only.  But that’s done.  I have some pieces at home that I have not yet learned to play all the way through and that will be changing.  Soon.  No one else may ever hear them performed but that is SOOOOOO not the point.  Now, if you will excuse me, I have some music to go look through!