It came. It happened. And we are living on the other side. Thankfully.
This year, my Easter experience was like looking through a magnifying glass at my own inner life. Try it sometime. It's kind of scary.
This year, just like the last few years, I was asked to play violin for our church's Good Friday service. This year, like in the past few, I said yes. This year, like in the others, I was given freedom to pick the music that would be the connective tissue of the service, flowing between speakers as if to unite them in some magical and mysterious way.
This year, unlike the previous few, I did not have the full 40 days of the Lenten season to wander with the music, ingraining it into my motor memory and stamping it upon my soul. Instead, I had a week and a half. Apparently, that is not enough for someone of my meager talent and ability.
We chose to do the violin music written by John Williams for the movie Schindler's List. The music is haunting and beautiful. It is dark and deep and written with such precision and clarity that the emotion almost oozes out of the notes. It almost plays itself. Almost.
I love this music. I love it beyond what is normal. My heart cries in agony for the chilling story that it is meant to convey. The character of the piece grips me and forces me into a place I do not wish to remain for too long, yet I cherish every moment spent there. Really. It is powerful.
And I wanted it to be that kind of story and power for those who would be in the congregation on Friday night. I wanted it to speak to their hearts the secrets, the sorrow, the gift of Good Friday that perhaps they have not yet known. I wanted God to be there, in the music, wrapping them up and filling them with the sacred. I wanted Him to use me to tell the story of Good Friday. And I wanted it to be perfect.
That is not what happened.
What did happen during worship was as haunting for me as the music is supposed to be, yet without the beauty of the melodies. I messed up early and became timid and nervous and with each passing mistake of tone or intonation, my music froze as if I had never seen the notes before. It was not what I had hoped for. It was not what I had envisioned. It was not what I had practiced and rehearsed. Sure, there were some beautiful spots here and there, there were some moments of magic, it wasn't a total train wreck. But it was so far from perfect, so far from what I had expected, I could hardly fathom that it had been me up there making such a mess of such an incredible piece.
At the end of the service with the lights out, the darkness of night engulfing the sanctuary and the congregants quietly exiting the space, I slowly put my violin back in its case. Heartbroken. I felt a state of remorse and shock and regret wash over me. How could it have been THAT bad?
Madeline and Aidan hurried up to me. Madeline's bright eyes beaming in the darkness. "You were wonderful, Mommy!" she exclaimed. And she truly meant it.
"I made a mistake," I said to her, head hung low; how big the mistakes loomed in my mind.
"Actually, Mom, you made several," Aidan said. "But, I don't think everyone noticed really." And he really meant it too, at least the first part.
I left with my spirits all but completely shot. I think it is what they call gloom.
In the grand scheme of things, the conflict seems silly and trite. Was I being over dramatic? Sure. But it pushed me into a very dark and remorseful place. As I told a friend recently, I don't flirt with that dark place too often but it is so heavy when I find myself there. I feel real compassion for all those who mourn and suffer pain of any kind. Grief is so tough. And this was nothing compared to what so many people go through on a daily basis. Yet there I was.
While Easter this year didn't turn anyone into a cheetah, (thank God for that too as I'm not sure how I'd explain that one to Kurt!) it offers us a chance to start life anew: a chance to "shine like stars in the universe" because of the love and grace we have been given, a gift meant for sharing. Will you join me?