Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Stand On Your Own Two Feet


For starters, this post has a point and it has nothing to do with music. . . it's just that I have to set the stage, so to speak. Secondly, I'm not tooting my own "musical" horn here {no pun intended}. Honest. If you're tempted to roll your eyes and give me a congratulatory pat on the back because you think that's what I'm fishing for, please refrain. Although a back rub would be nice. ;)

. . .

Once upon a time {this past December}, I was lucky enough to play The Nutcracker Suite with the Herriman Community Orchestra and a fabulous local ballet company. It was a boat-load of music and required a surprisingly large amount of blood, sweat, and tears. ;)

As it just so happens, 99% of the rehearsals were at night in the cramped, poorly lit quarters of our conductor's basement. Then, about a week before opening night, we rehearsed with the dancers in their studio. We were set up in a separate room and communicated with the dancers through an open doorway. That might sound awful and extremely difficult, but it was actually the best we had ever played because 1) we were finally sitting in the classic symphonic half-circle for the first time, and 2) we could actually see the music by the light of day.

At last, we were feeling confident enough to kick some Nutcracker behind and perform this bad boy live {which, if you're familiar with The Nutcracker Suite being performed, you know rarely happens below the professional level}. Well, that all changed when we rehearsed at the middle school where we were to perform the very next night. Nothing like waiting until the last minute, eh?

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{photo source}

The problem was that we were spread out like too little jam on too much toast. The middle school didn't have an official pit for the musicians {not that I blame them} so we were squished between the front row seats and the stage. Couple that with poor acoustics and we couldn't hear anyone but ourselves as we played.

Ordinarily, that wouldn't be that big of a deal. . . but as a whole, we had gotten lazy and relied on hearing other musicians playing their part in order to know when to start playing OUR part. In other words, we weren't counting and paying close attention like we ought to have been.

Bad juju.

Suffice it to say that it was a rude awakening to have the night before a performance. We had to change the entire way we thought about the music and perform as though we were floating in the soundless void of space. . . because that's how it felt. :) We had to re-glue our eyes on the conductor so that we didn't completely crash and burn {imagine a train derailing off a 50-foot precipice onto jagged rocks}.

In short, each musician had to stand on their own two feet instead of relying on someone else.

Opening night was. . . interesting, but that's not what this post is about. :) This post is about how every single one of us has to stand on our own two feet spiritually.

. . .

If you're LDS, chances are you're all sorts of excited about the upcoming General Conference. Can I get a whoop-whoop?! Unless you're in a public place. . . then by all means, save yourself from humiliation and just nod and smile demurely.

But what if you're not excited? {cue dramatic music}

Are you doomed?!

Uh, no. You're not.

In fact, you're just like I used to be.

There was a time not too terribly far gone that General Conference weekend was my idea of a vacation from the Sunday meeting block. What changed? Well, for starters, I think I became more fully converted to the gospel instead of just "going through the motions".  I also realized that General Conference was a priceless opportunity to strengthen my testimony and gain the needed insight to overcome trials and obstacles in my life. Hearing from the living Prophet and Apostles is something that, as a life-long member of the Church, I had often taken for granted.

In effect, I was spiritually lazy. I hadn't learned to truly stand on my own two feet, but instead relied on the testimony of those around me.

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{photo source}

I was a floater {not to be confused with a floatie like what you find in the bottom of your drink after your toddler takes a sip :) }. Unfortunately, none of us can float very long before we start to sink. We either learn to swim or we become a bump on the bottom of the lake of faith.

Now, it's not inherently bad to rely on others. In fact, we need each other! The problem comes when we try to sit on someone's head as they swim toward exaltation. They went through the work to gain a testimony and we need to do the same. Only then can we can swim along together; helping each other when we get weary and worn down.

Don't be like the musician that waits for someone else to tell them when to play. . . practice hard, pay attention, and watch the conductor {a.k.a. the Prophet} and you'll be just fine.

If you find yourself wondering if you have the testimony to stand on your own two feet, I challenge you to try it out. You'll never know 'til you try, eh? I think you'll be pleased to see that you're a lot stronger than you think.

. . .

{Tune in for General Conference (click HERE to watch the first session on Saturday, April 5th at 10:00 am MST) regardless of where you stand. You won't regret it!}

1 comment:

  1. I've been in a choir where I've witnessed the same thing. It's amazing what a difference it makes when we all take personal accountability to REALLY practice our parts and apply what the director teaches us. It can be all too easy to float, especially in a large group, but we all miss out on great things when we do that.

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