Amputations are painful. The most curious and devastating effect is the "ghost limb" that continues to itch and irritate.
"That's the one!" my mentor had said, pointing to "Orchestra Pianist" on my checklist of possibilities. We were working through a ministry change, and Margaret insisted I drop activities to take on a leadership challenge.
My heart sank. The orchestra was a weekly family of 30-50 musicians. I had finally learned to sightread, dragged along the score by French horns, violins, and oboes. Now I was to give it up for a new direction.
It took two years of conscious effort to clap and sing with a congregation. I had played piano constantly as a teen and adult, so my fingers daydreamed runs and chords on my lap when we sat and tapped on the back of the pew ahead of me when we stood. My feet still conducted and pedaled the complexities that helped me keep the beat at the piano. But it was a phantom movement. No keyboard sat nearby and no metal feet braced mine for almost a decade.
Then another opportunity opened, and again I practiced (still disliked that as much as ever), played, and breathed music. I fell in love with the choir and looked forward to being part of their community.
Now, after two years, I'm reassigned. Pulling back. Putting aside this season of music to study and work. No more taping pages together because I'm a horrible page-turner. No Wednesday rehearsal and early Sunday run-through. No settling on the bench and letting my fingers decide the patterns for sounds streaming through my inner ear.
It is time to let go. To clap and sing. To tap and wait. To listen and write. To plan and create. To balance and rest.
Ah, but I dread the itch and the irritation of the amputated limb.
So what do people get in this life for all their hard work and anxiety? Their days of labor are filled with pain and grief; even at night their minds cannot rest. It is all meaningless. Ecclesiastes 2:22–23 NLT
*And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. Isaiah 30:21
*So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:18 NLT
* Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8 NIV