An Audience of One

Learning the InstrumentPlaying an instrument is not my forte. The only thing I learned to play growing up was the radio. As a child I wanted to study piano but money for lessons was tight. Instead, I learned to type. They’re kind of the same thing – they both have a keyboard.

A number of years ago I dreamed I was in Heaven seated at an ebony grand piano. Though difficult to convey to you the reader how real it was, trust me when I tell you there was one time in my life when I played the piano. The music flowed effortlessly –  without a single piano lesson to my name. Beautiful, lyrical – my fingertips sang the song of the ivories.

I remember being conscious in the dream of the reality that I did not know how to play the piano. At the same time my entire being was filled and thrilled to the music flowing through, for which I was simply the conduit. I was flooded with joy, while fully aware I did not know how to play the piano! I still don’t.

Something greater than my lack met me in my dream that early morning and found a receptive pupil.

Autumn background with colorful leaves and ripped paper. Vector illustration.

Meanwhile, I learned to put my typing skills to good use. They have served me well both in employment and in my writing. My male bosses appreciated the former; my heavenly Employer the latter.

I love music which fills my soul; so too, I love words through which I want to play to an audience of One.

It takes time to learn to play to an audience of One. I would venture to say most of us are not initially wired to tune out everyone else to the exclusion of the only One from whom approval need come.

Samuel Butler’s quote in the accompanying photo struck a chord with me the first time I read it:

Life is like playing a violin solo in public
and learning the instrument as one goes on. 

To which I say Amen! It’s one thing to dream of being a virginal piano virtuoso, and quite another in our screechy attempts to play beautiful music on the strings of our life. Sometimes we hit the wrong notes.

Then there are those times we hit all the right ones and out flows something full, rich and orchestral.

Enter the Concert Master.

God and Mr. Butler understood something with which I think many ishshahs struggle, including me: those times we’re called to step up and play the piece of music set before us, whether by God or man.

The score may be unfamiliar at best or by far the most difficult ‘piece’ we’ve ever had to play. It is doubly hard if we have never held or sat before that particular ‘instrument’, then are told we must play it.

One can’t just set the instrument aside; it’s too valuable. In ways we do not often realize or understand at the time, it is the instrument of God’s choosing or allowance based on His superior knowledge of the purpose He has ordained for our life. So it goes where we go, all the while demanding our practiced and fixed attention on Him in order to coax forth notes of life and not death and despair.

There we are, living a violin solo in a multitude of others just like us but with different instruments.

Only the Concert Master knows full well how to bring forth the sound of each one that contributes to the whole of His vast orchestra. A simultaneous symphony of individual praise for an audience of One.

Autumn background with colorful leaves and ripped paper. Vector illustration.I’m reminded of the choir years of my life. With simply my single voice to contribute, nonetheless it added to the whole as others offered their single contribution as well. Whether under the tutelage of a school music teacher, a church choir director, or a self-directed small vocal group, something wonderful happened as our voices – each with their specific part – were joined together.

Melody and harmony synchronized as our ears were tuned to hear not only our part but how it fit in composition with others. Sometimes it required more practice and try, try again. Other times, it was exhilarating in its resulting sound. I may not play the piano, but I do love gorgeous chords of harmony.

That small illustration multiplied a million times over provides a glimpse of the immensity of God. Yet, He longs to hear and listen to each one, then orchestrates even the orchestration of the orchestra!

Over two years ago the Ishshah’s Story blog/editorial team came together in such an orchestration. A sound had been going forth as individually each member was contributing to a particular theme song in the heart of God. Because each one was looking to Him while living our ‘violin solo’ life and by noticing what He was conducting, He could guide us to eventually become a collaborative and cohesive quartet.

Our collective heart since the formation of Ishshah’s Story has been to provide a platform for other voices to be heard as well. Dear, valuable ishshah – what instrument, what song has the Lord used to establish praise to Him, your audience of One?

You are warmly invited and encouraged to consider playing a ‘violin solo’ in the safety of our numbers. We are all still ‘learning the instrument’ as we go on. However, we are also making lovely music that brings joy to the heart of our Concert Master.

There are several ways in which your voice may be heard here on Ishshah’s Story – through Her Journey, Her Voice, Her History, or Her Wisdom. You are welcome to check out our guidelines for contributions which will aid in your submission of a potential guest feature.

Through our Facebook page, a summer writing challenge was put forth which we extend here as well. If so inclined, over the next ten weeks you are encouraged to set aside some time to pen a submission for review as a possible guest post. Our team here at Ishshah’s Story will keep humming through August while keeping an eye out for your email with a potential submission attached!

Before we take a bow.

As I mentioned before, it takes time to learn to play to an audience of One. Living a ‘violin solo’ in this world, it is evident we are surrounded by an audience of the masses. Yet when the curtain comes down on each day, there remains only One whose heart it is to call forth and conduct our life’s music in a way that is fitting to His purpose for us and pleasing to Him.

No other nod of approval in this life will call forth and sustain the music within that comes from His look in our direction. When we play to an audience of One, His commendation is the one that endures.

Playing on ~

Nancy and The Teammates – Cheryl, Melody and Pat, a catchy little group!

photo credit: violin on grunge paper background with space via photopin (license)


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