March 15, 2013

Squeaking by...and The Continuous Conversion by Brad Wilcox

Sunday morning I pulled out my beautiful violin. Every time I open my case I am brought back to Christmas Day. I had no idea what was in that big box, and when I opened it, I wept with joy. I have always dreamed of learning to play the violin. And Scott knew it.

My Violin has now been in my possession for almost 3 months.

I tightened my bow, applied fresh rosin to it, and put my chin rest on my violin. I stared down the fingerboard making sure that I was going to hit an open A and then I started down with my bow stroke. It rang out beautifully until I willfully placed my first finger down, shooting for a B and missing terribly.


I quickly corrected my finger placing searching for the correct intonation. On and on I repeated these steps, hitting the note in one instant and then missing the mark in the next.

I practiced Twinkle Twinkle, I Am Like A Star Shining Brightly, and London Bridges. I played for about 15 minutes until I felt that Scott, who was trying to sleep about 5 feet away from where I was practicing, would ultimately get frustrated with my efforts and tell me to be quiet.

"So babe, what did you think of that?", I asked sarcastically, partially expecting abuse and  annoyance for interrupting his precious sleep.

"Erin, I could listen to you play all day", he said in a beautiful, sincere and genuine response.

I've been thinking of this continually this week. How could Scott, a seasoned Master of the violin, appreciated my small offering of a few pure notes and a thousand missed ones?

In the book The Continuous Conversion by BradWilcox he says,

Am I willing to gradually be perfected, or am I impatiently just wanting to be instantly made perfect?
To instantly play perfectly?
To just pick up my violin and play like the Master?

In the book, Wilcox uses an analogy that I loved.

"Many people, as they feel themselves falling short of perfection, are tempted to quit trying. But are there only two options?"

He continues, "When a person is learning to play the piano, are the only two options performing at Carnegie Hall or quitting?

NO!" he writes, "Growth and Development take time. Learning takes practice. Discipleship is a journey, and true conversion is a CONTINUOUS PROCESS."

So why is it that Scott, who plays the violin Perfectly; the perfect tone, the perfect vibrato...could appreciate and enjoy my squeaks?

Could it possibly be because he has been there?
Could it be because through years and years of practicing he has already paid the price?

Don't you think that one who has paid the price and put in the effort could enjoy the missed notes of a novice more than someone who never played the violin could appreciate the squeaky notes of an imperfect player.

And doesn't the Savior, our Master, appreciate our true, most sincere efforts to continually practice for perfection?
To strive to "learn heaven" and not "earn it."

Perfection takes time. It takes a Continuous Conversion.

And guess what?

The savior appreciates our continued efforts because:
He has been there.
He has already paid the Price.

And just like Scott said that he could listen to me play the violin all day, the Savior invites us too to make our best offering.

And through the atonement of Jesus Christ our tune can be perfected, our efforts magnified and we may all hear those precious words, "Well done thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things , I will make thee ruler over many things, enter thou into the joy of the Lord." (Matt 25: 21)

This book was wonderful and I strongly recommend it.
To purchase go to Deseret Bookstore


Kelly(M&M) said...

Beautiful post, Erin. Just what I needed. I loved your analogy.

Janine said...

This is beautifully written. I believe so much in doing our very best and looking for our true potential. I love your thoughts. Thanks for writing. And p.s. we just found out that they cut my husband's position here so we have to move. I'm devastated. But I'll move again. This just feels like home to me.

Harris Family said...

so great you are playing the violin!! I love it. My oldest is taking lessons and I love it too- Ive thought about trying it myself as I learn through him. So great about your birthday! Just getting caught up on the last few months. You are a great example and Im glad to see you are so happy!