This past week, I got to see my niece and nephew's piano recital. It was all classical music and they were AMAZING. Both of their pieces were challenging with lots and lots of sixteenth notes and movements and tempos.
This was my sixth year of piano recitals and I always get teary-eyed. I also always notice the same thing. Each and every pianist, from age six to sixteen, makes mistakes. They hit a wrong note. They get lost.
What I love so much is when they hit a wrong note, they simply keep going. Not a single one of them says, "Well, I blew that note, I might as well give in and forget trying to hit any of the others. I'm a failure. Why go on."
They don't do that. None of them.
Here are a few things I noticed that they do:
They pause for a moment. It's just that second or two that's needed to find their place and carry on. They don't try to explain the pause. They don't apologize. They take an empowered moment of reset and when ready, they move forward.
They go back to the beginning of the measure. In music, there are a certain number of notes contained in each measure/bar. If it is common time, there are four quarter note beats per bar. If they lost the melody and can't recover right where they are, they simply find the beginning of that bar and start from there.
They move forward. Sometimes there is no recovering that particular measure. That's OK, there's another four count bar that they pick right up on. Because they find a way to move forward, that momentary mistake is quickly forgotten once the melody resumes and we're all back in the music.
We don't do that very well, do we?
We make a mistake and forget to pause, making it hard to find our rhythm.
We make a mistake and forget that it's OK to take a few steps back and try it again.
We make a mistake and stop moving forward, thinking that if we aren't perfect, we don't get to keep going.
We make a mistake and turn it on ourselves hard. Shame on me.
We make a mistake and make it mean something about who we are, our worth, or identity.
"If you're not making mistakes, then you're not DOING anything. I'm positive that a doer makes mistakes." - John Wooden
I don't know about you, but I'm fifty-three years old and I'm ready to let go of my past mistakes, all the ways I've fallen short, and find a way to move forward with joy and confidence and MAKE MUSIC. I'm ready to play my song with freedom and the knowledge that Grace always has my back.
Once the kids finish their piece, they stand, bow and share a beaming smile. It's real. You can tell that they aren't taking inventory of any of the notes they missed. Why would they! They played their song. What do you think the audience remembers; the mistakes or the song?
That's right...the SONG.
Let's take our cue from the kids, and invite our hearts to be filled with divine confidence that comes from knowing who we are, and that mistakes are OK. We can pause, do over and move forward any time. That's the beauty of Grace. It not only allows second chances (and third, fourth, fifth...), it celebrates them.