lovely diacritic?


Why are you doing what you are doing?
9 February, 2009, 1:29 am
Filed under: Music, Religion | Tags:

That question struck me during mentoring and it lead me to question in the area of my commitment to music/piano – Why am I pursuing music all these years?

 

My whole life (since 4 years old) I have been pursuing music and I really enjoy doing so. It is my interest and also I am the kind of person who must finish things to the very end. So after taking Grade 8 theory exam next month, I say I’m done with the “Grades pursuit”. At the same time, I’m starting on the next level, diploma in performance. Well, sure looks good when people ask what level I am in my piano. But actually inside me I was quite miserable.

 

Why miserable? Honestly, I do not consider myself as being talented then. The grades I obtained for the examinations were so-so, especially being surrounded by many musicians in my circle of friends, I say I am mediaocre. That it started snowballing since end of 2007 when I had negative thoughts that I should just give up pursuing Diploma. People around me discouraged me to drop  because reasons like “I have gone a long way”, “It’ll be such a waste to just drop it” and other reasons along that line. Not knowing what to do, I decided to stay put and continue this journey, but feeling all drained on the inside as it was a shallow reason to make me carry on. It was sure a tough journey.

 

Finally, I hit my lowest during last week and piano lesson was HORRIBLE. My teacher noticed through my playing that I was distracted. Extra distracted compared to previous lessons with thoughts that I should just drop diploma. (Since what have been motivating me was the fact that I shouldn’t give up after such a long journey. Such a poor reason.) Anyway, speaking in musical terms, everytime before I play the final note of the phrase, there is this awkward pause I had and they sound like oh-I-forgot-there’s-this-note-left-I-better-press-it-before-anyone-realise-I’m-distracted. Yeah. My teacher laughed because it really sounded weird and funny to her. But it was totally not funny to me as I’m trying very  hard to focus and not waste the $80 per lesson fee. I was even on the verge of tears because inside I was really feeling very terrible but NO WAY was I gonna cry infront of my teacher for the first time. Not only was my practical lesson horrible, so was my theory lesson. The mistakes I made were of Grade 1 standard mistakes? Additional or lack of one beat in a bar. What the. I was also quite appalled with my mistakes. Finally that lesson ended just like that. Like it was better off without it.

 

As soon as I got home I just cried out to the Lord and did solitude, asking God to speak to me CLEARLY so that I have His word to ground me and motivate me to go on a longer journey with a STRONGER spirit and with A SENSE OF PURPOSE in this whole music thing. Then He gave me Job 38 – 42. Lo and behold, the title is “The Lord Speaks”. (I do love such clear-cut revelation but I musn’t always look forward to this because God speaks in so many other creative ways too.) So the verses go:

 

Job 38

 1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said: 2 “Who is this that darkens my counsel 
       with words without knowledge?

 3 Brace yourself like a man; 
       I will question you, 
       and you shall answer me.

 4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? 
       Tell me, if you understand.

 5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! 
       Who stretched a measuring line across it?

 6 On what were its footings set, 
       or who laid its cornerstone-

 7 while the morning stars sang together 
       and all the angels [a] shouted for joy?

 8 “Who shut up the sea behind doors 
       when it burst forth from the womb,

 9 when I made the clouds its garment 
       and wrapped it in thick darkness,

 10 when I fixed limits for it 
       and set its doors and bars in place,

 11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; 
       here is where your proud waves halt’?

 12 “Have you ever given orders to the morning, 
       or shown the dawn its place,

 13 that it might take the earth by the edges 
       and shake the wicked out of it?

 14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal; 
       its features stand out like those of a garment.

 15 The wicked are denied their light, 
       and their upraised arm is broken.

 16 “Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea 
       or walked in the recesses of the deep?

 17 Have the gates of death been shown to you? 
       Have you seen the gates of the shadow of death [b] ?

 18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? 
       Tell me, if you know all this.

 19 “What is the way to the abode of light? 
       And where does darkness reside?

 20 Can you take them to their places? 
       Do you know the paths to their dwellings?

 21 Surely you know, for you were already born! 
       You have lived so many years!

 22 “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow 
       or seen the storehouses of the hail,

 23 which I reserve for times of trouble, 
       for days of war and battle?

 24 What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed, 
       or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?

 25 Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain, 
       and a path for the thunderstorm,

 26 to water a land where no man lives, 
       a desert with no one in it,

 27 to satisfy a desolate wasteland 
       and make it sprout with grass?

 28 Does the rain have a father? 
       Who fathers the drops of dew?

 29 From whose womb comes the ice? 
       Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens

 30 when the waters become hard as stone, 
       when the surface of the deep is frozen?

 31 “Can you bind the beautiful [c] Pleiades? 
       Can you loose the cords of Orion?

 32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons [d] 
       or lead out the Bear [e] with its cubs?

 33 Do you know the laws of the heavens? 
       Can you set up God’s [f] dominion over the earth?

 34 “Can you raise your voice to the clouds 
       and cover yourself with a flood of water?

 35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? 
       Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?

 36 Who endowed the heart [g] with wisdom 
       or gave understanding to the mind [h] ?

 37 Who has the wisdom to count the clouds? 
       Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens

 38 when the dust becomes hard 
       and the clods of earth stick together?

 39 “Do you hunt the prey for the lioness 
       and satisfy the hunger of the lions

 40 when they crouch in their dens 
       or lie in wait in a thicket?

 41 Who provides food for the raven 
       when its young cry out to God 
       and wander about for lack of food?

 

Job 39

 1 “Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? 
       Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn?

 2 Do you count the months till they bear? 
       Do you know the time they give birth?

 3 They crouch down and bring forth their young; 
       their labor pains are ended.

 4 Their young thrive and grow strong in the wilds; 
       they leave and do not return.

 5 “Who let the wild donkey go free? 
       Who untied his ropes?

 6 I gave him the wasteland as his home, 
       the salt flats as his habitat.

 7 He laughs at the commotion in the town; 
       he does not hear a driver’s shout.

 8 He ranges the hills for his pasture 
       and searches for any green thing.

 9 “Will the wild ox consent to serve you? 
       Will he stay by your manger at night?

 10 Can you hold him to the furrow with a harness? 
       Will he till the valleys behind you?

 11 Will you rely on him for his great strength? 
       Will you leave your heavy work to him?

 12 Can you trust him to bring in your grain 
       and gather it to your threshing floor?

 13 “The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully, 
       but they cannot compare with the pinions and feathers of the stork.

 14 She lays her eggs on the ground 
       and lets them warm in the sand,

 15 unmindful that a foot may crush them, 
       that some wild animal may trample them.

 16 She treats her young harshly, as if they were not hers; 
       she cares not that her labor was in vain,

 17 for God did not endow her with wisdom 
       or give her a share of good sense.

 18 Yet when she spreads her feathers to run, 
       she laughs at horse and rider.

 19 “Do you give the horse his strength 
       or clothe his neck with a flowing mane?

 20 Do you make him leap like a locust, 
       striking terror with his proud snorting?

 21 He paws fiercely, rejoicing in his strength, 
       and charges into the fray.

 22 He laughs at fear, afraid of nothing; 
       he does not shy away from the sword.

 23 The quiver rattles against his side, 
       along with the flashing spear and lance.

 24 In frenzied excitement he eats up the ground; 
       he cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds.

 25 At the blast of the trumpet he snorts, ‘Aha!’ 
       He catches the scent of battle from afar, 
       the shout of commanders and the battle cry.

 26 “Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom 
       and spread his wings toward the south?

 27 Does the eagle soar at your command 
       and build his nest on high?

 28 He dwells on a cliff and stays there at night; 
       a rocky crag is his stronghold.

 29 From there he seeks out his food; 
       his eyes detect it from afar.

 30 His young ones feast on blood, 
       and where the slain are, there is he.”

 

Job 40

1 The LORD said to Job:

 2 “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? 
       Let him who accuses God answer him!”

 3 Then Job answered the LORD :

 4 “I am unworthy—how can I reply to you? 
       I put my hand over my mouth.

 5 I spoke once, but I have no answer— 
       twice, but I will say no more.”

 6 Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm:

 7 “Brace yourself like a man; 
       I will question you, 
       and you shall answer me.

 8 “Would you discredit my justice? 
       Would you condemn me to justify yourself?

 9 Do you have an arm like God’s, 
       and can your voice thunder like his?

 10 Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor, 
       and clothe yourself in honor and majesty.

 11 Unleash the fury of your wrath, 
       look at every proud man and bring him low,

 12 look at every proud man and humble him, 
       crush the wicked where they stand.

 13 Bury them all in the dust together; 
       shroud their faces in the grave.

 14 Then I myself will admit to you 
       that your own right hand can save you.

 15 “Look at the behemoth, [a] 
       which I made along with you 
       and which feeds on grass like an ox.

 16 What strength he has in his loins, 
       what power in the muscles of his belly!

 17 His tail [b] sways like a cedar; 
       the sinews of his thighs are close-knit.

 18 His bones are tubes of bronze, 
       his limbs like rods of iron.

 19 He ranks first among the works of God, 
       yet his Maker can approach him with his sword.

 20 The hills bring him their produce, 
       and all the wild animals play nearby.

 21 Under the lotus plants he lies, 
       hidden among the reeds in the marsh.

 22 The lotuses conceal him in their shadow; 
       the poplars by the stream surround him.

 23 When the river rages, he is not alarmed; 
       he is secure, though the Jordan should surge against his mouth.

 24 Can anyone capture him by the eyes, [c] 
       or trap him and pierce his nose?

 

Job 41

1 “Can you pull in the leviathan [a] with a fishhook 
       or tie down his tongue with a rope?

 2 Can you put a cord through his nose 
       or pierce his jaw with a hook?

 3 Will he keep begging you for mercy? 
       Will he speak to you with gentle words?

 4 Will he make an agreement with you 
       for you to take him as your slave for life?

 5 Can you make a pet of him like a bird 
       or put him on a leash for your girls?

 6 Will traders barter for him? 
       Will they divide him up among the merchants?

 7 Can you fill his hide with harpoons 
       or his head with fishing spears?

 8 If you lay a hand on him, 
       you will remember the struggle and never do it again!

 9 Any hope of subduing him is false; 
       the mere sight of him is overpowering.

 10 No one is fierce enough to rouse him. 
       Who then is able to stand against me?

 11 Who has a claim against me that I must pay? 
       Everything under heaven belongs to me.

 12 “I will not fail to speak of his limbs, 
       his strength and his graceful form.

 13 Who can strip off his outer coat? 
       Who would approach him with a bridle?

 14 Who dares open the doors of his mouth, 
       ringed about with his fearsome teeth?

 15 His back has [b] rows of shields 
       tightly sealed together;

 16 each is so close to the next 
       that no air can pass between.

 17 They are joined fast to one another; 
       they cling together and cannot be parted.

 18 His snorting throws out flashes of light; 
       his eyes are like the rays of dawn.

 19 Firebrands stream from his mouth; 
       sparks of fire shoot out.

 20 Smoke pours from his nostrils 
       as from a boiling pot over a fire of reeds.

 21 His breath sets coals ablaze, 
       and flames dart from his mouth.

 22 Strength resides in his neck; 
       dismay goes before him.

 23 The folds of his flesh are tightly joined; 
       they are firm and immovable.

 24 His chest is hard as rock, 
       hard as a lower millstone.

 25 When he rises up, the mighty are terrified; 
       they retreat before his thrashing.

 26 The sword that reaches him has no effect, 
       nor does the spear or the dart or the javelin.

 27 Iron he treats like straw 
       and bronze like rotten wood.

 28 Arrows do not make him flee; 
       slingstones are like chaff to him.

 29 A club seems to him but a piece of straw; 
       he laughs at the rattling of the lance.

 30 His undersides are jagged potsherds, 
       leaving a trail in the mud like a threshing sledge.

 31 He makes the depths churn like a boiling caldron 
       and stirs up the sea like a pot of ointment.

 32 Behind him he leaves a glistening wake; 
       one would think the deep had white hair.

 33 Nothing on earth is his equal— 
       a creature without fear.

 34 He looks down on all that are haughty; 
       he is king over all that are proud.”

 

There are so many verses but they were all speaking about one thing to me. That is WHO IS THE GREATEST. And yeah, He is God. Also, being in the distracted state, it was so apt to have so many verses to resound until I was really focused on God and the word of God started to enter my heart. There are so many things that I cannot do and only God can do. So that struck me. Who am I in authority to speak such negative thoughts into my life that I am not talented? It was God who gave me the talents and who am I to say that I do not have talents?!

 

With that, I found new purpose in pursuing music, that is to tell God that I am cherishing the talent He has given me, and I’m not going to be ashamed of it anymore and just use it to the fullest. And that time spent with God ended with the final chapter of Job, Job 42.

 1 Then Job replied to the LORD : 2 “I know that you can do all things; 
       no plan of yours can be thwarted.

 3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ 
       Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, 
       things too wonderful for me to know.

 4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; 
       I will question you, 
       and you shall answer me.’

 5 My ears had heard of you 
       but now my eyes have seen you.

 6 Therefore I despise myself 
       and repent in dust and ashes.”

 

And that spoke to me about repentance. Another amazing thing. On that same day in the morning during my daily devotion, God kept showing me scriptures about me sinning and needing repentance. Yes, all man are sinners but I was totally clueless on what I need repentance on! So I told God to reveal which area in my life that I need repentance in. So I guess, God’s promises of asking with the right heart and He will answer was done because He broke me to my lowest state during piano lesson to  make me realise that the sin was not acknowledging that my talents are a gift from Him. And that sin has caused me so much pain emotionally and spiritually whenever I think about Diploma in Performance.

 

It has surely been a long journey all these years of struggling whether to drop Diploma and now I am so glad I found a new sense of purpose with Job 38 -42 all ready to strengthen me if I ever feel discouraged again.

 

There is this song that my brother kept singing that night (ah, so much for one day to take but it was all worth experiencing) it was “You Shine”. Totally spoke to me (the verse especially as it has the same interpretation as Job 38-41).

 

 

Why should I fear man,
When You made the heavens?
Why should I be afraid,
When You put the stars in place?
Why should I lose heart,
When I know how great you are?
Why should I give up,
When Your plans are full of love?

 

In this world we will have trouble,
But You have overcome the world!
You Shine,
Brighter than the brightest star!
Your Love,
Purer than the purest heart!
You Shine,
Filling us with courage and strength
To follow You!

 

Why should I feel mad,
When You made the heavens?
Why should I be afraid,
When You put the stars in place?
Why should I lose heart,
When I know how great You are?
Why should I give up,
When Your plans are full of love?

 

You Shine,
Brighter than the brightest star!
Your Love,
Purer than the purest heart!
You Shine,
Filling us with courage and strength
To follow You!

 

In this world we will have trouble,
But You have overcome the world!
You have overcome the world…!

 

You Shine,
Brighter than the brightest star!
Your Love,
Purer than the purest heart!
You Shine,
Filling us with courage and strength
To follow You!
You Shine,
Brighter than the brightest star!
Your Love,
Purer than the purest heart!
You Shine,
Filling us with courage and strength
To follow You!

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