Thursday, March 23, 2017

Always Be

Last week one of my youth group girls asked me a simple question.

I was unloading my flute from its case to practice the music for our upcoming Stations of the Cross. Fun Fact: I saved for months to buy that very open-holed flute when I was 16 years old to upgrade from my standard version. It was my first eBay purchase. {It might have been one of the original eBay purchases.} As I lined up the keys and fit each piece together, I heard: "Mrs. Jessica, how long have you been playing the flute?"

I had to stop and think and count, because I was struggling to remember a time when I didn't. I finally arrived at the answer of 22 years, which also meant I have been playing the piano for 26. The answer satisfied her and we went on with our practice, but that small exchange stuck with me for days.

Twenty-six years is an awfully long time to be doing something you enjoy. As a matter of fact, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I ought to be more advanced in something I've been doing a quarter of a century. Perhaps I didn't practice nearly as hard as I did in the days I had teachers to answer to, but that never stopped me from sitting down at the piano or opening up my dusty case each time it caught my eye. I love music and I have been making it for most of my life. That makes me feel both accomplished and old.

It also makes me a realize that an amateur musician is something I will always be.

In my teens, I was afraid of my twenties. In my twenties, I was afraid of my thirties. At the ripe age of thirty, I was afraid of going any further. June will mark 33 for me, and the fear is fading. I can say with confidence that this stage in my life has been the most comfortable. Not because I have a handle on responsibilities or I have figured out how not to fail my children or have a perfect marriage, but because I know who I am.

Someone once said life's about change and nothing ever stays the same {pretty sure it was Patty Loveless}, and I have found a lot of truth in that. Change will rush in like an early storm and turn its unsuspecting victims upside down, but I've learned it's best to let it come. Knowing that, however, I think I'm old enough to have amassed a collection of traits sticking around for the long haul.

I will always be an outside girl, living for summer air, dirty fingernails, and electric skies. I will always appreciate how ocean waves move in meditative rhythm, asking me to slow down and move with them. I will always be a mom, no matter how hard it gets. I will always be married, despite the unseen potholes I know are ahead. I will always be a child of God, finding peace in His overwhelming love. I will always be a teacher, whether in a classroom or my backyard. I will always be a writer, unable to understand my own perspective until letters are strung into ideas {like now, for instance}.

I have spent a very large portion of my life being these things, and I can't imagine a reason I'd ever stop.

Twenty-six years may not make a profession, but I'd say that makes a passion. None of the things listed have gained me money or fame, but it makes me. It's what I have always done, and it's what I will always do. Now you've got me curious, what falls into that category for you?

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Katharine said...

Well! Married for just shy of a half century.
Not teaching my kids anymore, since the youngest is 26 and has 2 of his own. However, am teaching others' kids and a handful of women and online.
Have written. Maybe a bit. ;)
AND...I play flute since 5th grade--too slow to do that math, but it's ages. And ages.
In a way we're almost alike. Must be why your ways make me smile.

Jessica Bauer said...

Wow, Katharine, thanks so much for sharing! I absolutely love the fact that you play the flute, too. Do you still get it out very often? I hope I can continue for ages, as well. :)