I once heard a wonderful lecture about liberal arts that solidified my belief that the different parts of life can all be interconnected. It’s not just for college classes. I have been finding connections in my daily routines, and I would like to write a few of them down, if only to explore them for myself.
I have been reading Henry James’ A Portrait of a Lady, which contains much psychological insight within the relations of the main characters. The conversations between these people are striking, but what lies underneath the actual spoken words is very deep. So when I came across this post by one of my favorite bloggers, Miriam from Writing for Myself, I couldn’t help but make a connection. She makes sauerkraut, but beneath this act of cooking lie more threads from her past and from her present emotional state of mind. Read on to the end of the post; it is rewarding. In fact, it sparked another connection for me.
If making sauerkraut is Miriam’s way of processing different aspects of her life, then piano-playing is my way of reacting to different aspects of my life. Piano-playing is not just about making music. It’s not only a means of doing something creative, adding beauty to my home, practicing an art. It is that, but for me it is more. I often go to the piano when I am stressed out. In fact, I have told my son to tell me to go play piano when I’m acting overwhelmed or frustrated (and he has done so!). It is calming, but it’s not just that either. There is something deeper. It’s a form of reaction for me. I could react to stress by being angry and yelling. I could react to sadness by crying. I could react to frustration by throwing things. I could react to extreme joy by becoming hyper. Or, I could play piano. I’m not very good, but I have several years of lessons under my belt, and I have some favorite classical songs. “Moonlight Sonata” by Beethoven is especially important to me. So many emotions can float under the rhythmic waves of that beautiful song. There’s a special fast song I go to when I need to pound on something. When I want to lose myself in singing, I open the church hymnal. I play until my back hurts, and then I play some more. I’ve grown to like that dull ache in my spine. It means I’m doing something that is more than just a pastime. Something inside me is healing.
Now I want to write another important connection I have recently made. A couple nights ago I sat down at the edge of my bed, picked up my Bible, and turned to Isaiah simply because I like Isaiah. I found Isaiah 65:17, “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.” I couldn’t believe it! I have such trouble forgetting things. I don’t really mean bad things that other people do to me. I mean bad things I have done in the past, failures, low points, disgraces, embarrassments. I have trouble moving on from those things. My last paragraph talked about using the piano to react. Yes, I can remember specific times when I used piano-playing to put a new direction on my depression, my low times. Those times seem to be with me always. And here I read that they will not be with me always. In the new world, after Christ returns, I won’t remember those things! It is a relief. It is pure grace.
I also connected this verse with the ladies’ Bible study I am leading. We are going through Nancy Guthrie’s book, The Wisdom of God: Seeing Jesus in the Psalms and Wisdom Books. Isaiah is not a wisdom book. And yet, I found some great wisdom there. This isn’t surprising in itself; I know the entire Bible is full of God’s wisdom. Yet, I know from our Bible study that wisdom isn’t always obvious. We recently studied some of the Psalms that are about royalty (both King David and King Jesus). It is not obvious that the connections we make between David and Jesus are pieces of God’s wisdom. But I think that is where Guthrie is going with all this. Wisdom is finding those connections between what God is doing and who God is. And applying wisdom means involving ourselves in this connection. What God is doing and who God is is part of my life. It actually is my life. I am nothing without God. I am nothing without His great plan.
This exploration turned out better than I planned. I actually made a connection about connections. I think. Now my mind is starting to swirl. I’m going a bit too deep, I suppose. I need to surface again. My plans for the rest of the night: read more blogs, read more of the Guthrie book, and read more of The Portrait of a Lady. Maybe I’ll have an awesome dream connecting all three in some strange, fluid way.