Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tuning to the First Chair

Last week the National Symphony kicked off their Americana Tour in Kentucky with a performance in Louisville. They performed just one night in the Ville before taking off across the state on this educational tour. I'm a lover of the arts - theater, music - if I had an unlimited budget, I'd be at the theater every weekend. But I hadn't seen the National Symphony perform before, nor had I seen the now budget-strapped Louisville Orchestra perform in years. I was pretty geeked at the opportunity.

They played Beethoven's 4th Symphony, all four movements, Copeland's Appalachian Spring and other selections. I was amazed that the conductor, Hugh Wolff, directed this talented group of musicians without music through Beethoven's Symphony. Wow. The highlight of the evening were the three curtain calls. I've been to rock concerts that didn't have three curtain calls. There was a Copeland reprise, a Sousa number, and, my personal favorite, My Old Kentucky Home. I could have listened all night as I'm mesmerized by watching all the different instrumentalists play and blend together to form beautiful music.

As I sat there in anticipation for the music to begin, all the orchestra members were getting settled in their places. From backstage, out walked who apparently was the "first chair", the Concertmaster (or in this case, Concertmistress). She came out and stood before this group of musicians and began to lead them in tuning to prepare for the performance. The first chair violin is in charge of tuning before all rehearsals and peformances. They follow her lead. Wherever she is, they tune to her. Oh the power of being the first chair!

Those that know me best are aware that I look for Jesus in everything....even at the Symphony. It reminded me that Jesus is my "first chair." When I start my day, before I begin to "perform" my daily duties, I need to "tune" to Him and be sure I reflect Him exactly, in as close of a perfect pitch as possible. He is my leader, just like that Concertmistress, and if I don't follow His Lead, my life is out of tune. But, if I making tuning to Him a priority, the music He can make through me can be a blessing in a world full of sour notes.

May I be reminded every time I hear an orchestra tuning up and I see the first chair leading the way, that Jesus is the music of my life. And I should follow Ephesians 5:1, "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." He has written the song of my life and as I follow His Lead, He will create a beautiful symphony through me.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

One Woman's Opinion

Ah, tis the month of February, that month where everywhere you turn, the air is full of talk of relationships, love and marriage. A friend of mine sent me a link to an article she found yesterday that seemed to be the answer to the age old question I receive, "So, why are you still single?" Thanks to Lori Gottlieb, I now know...I need to settle.

If I'm anything, I'm opinionated, and so it appears Ms. Gottlieb is also. After reading this article, which refuted her claims with real stats, I simply had to blog my ruminations on this after a day of digestion. From a 40-year-old single gal, here is my response to her suggestion that I've been too picky and need to settle...

1. Being "hypereducated" has given me the tendency to stay single too long - I wouldn't say I'm hypereducated, but I have completed a four-year degree and hold a management position. Many a man has touted that I can be intimidating due to my intelligence and confidence. This used to bother me, but I've since recovered from those assessments knowing that a man like that probably isn't a match. I was also told on a previous job that I needed to "dumb down" to do my job. That was my cue to exit stage left...which I did. Education or intelligence isn't a prohibitor of marriage. Finding like-minded men on the same plane as I'm on is the challenge. And, no, he doesn't need to be a Mensa, but he does need to be able to put together complete sentences and spar wits with me.

2. Waiting until you are past 35 to marry will leave you with an empty womb - Yes, my womb is empty, but I can reach out and grasp a "child" that needs my love and attention in such quantities that I'd never have been able to birth an equal number. Though I am past the age of bearing children, and if I marry, my hubby will get my 100% attention, I encounter young ones of all ages and stages that I can love on. Many come from loving families, but maybe need to talk to someone who is "like a Mom" but has more patience because they aren't under my roof 24/7. Or maybe they don't have a Mom that they can turn to and need someone who will befriend them and speak wisdom and love them all the same. Not having a child of my own was God's Plan. May I embrace the ones around me I can love and not consider it part of my failure to marry before the age of 35.

3. Someone over 40 would be happier as part of a couple, even with a nice bore of a husband - Let's be honest here, I'm writing a blog post on a Saturday night when I could be sitting in my recliner reading or watching a movie in silence with my nice bore of a husband who can't carry on a conversation. Hmmm, yep, that's how I want to spend my evenings. Not. The excitement of marriage to me is the thrill of someone who challenges me on every level - spiritually, emotionally, intellectually - and that I can't wait to share every moment with. Many have told me I have high aspirations (as would Ms. Gottlieb if she heard my claims) and I'll change my tune the day I ever do marry. We'll see when that happens. Remember when you waited oh so long for something and once you got it, you treasured it like pure gold? Yeah, that's how I see a future husband. I've waited a long time...he'll be cherished and treasured.

4. You need to be selfless and humble in marriage - Hallelujah!! Ms. Gottlieb got one right!! So many times when I ponder being married, I really pray and ask God to prepare me to give up my selfishness and pour my life out first to Him and then to my husband. It has helped that as I've gotten older and matured, I've learned more about what being selfless means. You see, the picture of marriage is merely a picture of the gospel. Christ gave His all for the Church, His Bride. We honor our earthly husbands because they, like Christ, would give their lives for us. If my husband is seeking to please God above all else, and is willing to die for me, why would I not want to give up the "me" to be his helpmeet? Ms. Gottlieb, there is some wisdom in waiting to marry. We learn life lessons that will equip us to be better wives to the right husbands.

I suppose if I never marry, you can inscribe on my tombstone "She was the eternal romantic that never married." And, Ms. Gottlieb, maybe I have too high of standards and am too picky, but I've seen the fairy tale in real life and believe in it. So, I'll just enjoy the blessed life I have and hope that one day I'll marry my lobster.