On Practicing, Mothers and Death

JanetFamily, HealthLeave a Comment

I didn’t realize that my mother's passing would hurt so bad. After 15 years of suffering from Parkinson’s disease, death seems so final. Even when we know that it comes to all of us, it is a sharp reminder that today is the day to live your best life. Now is the time to tell others how much they matter to you. This moment is the only one you have to practice forgiving and letting go of past wounds. So keep practicing because the hurt will be much greater if you don’t.
My mom wanted to share her love of music with her children, and we each took our turn learning how to maneuver the keys on the piano. When I got to the age where I wasn’t practicing very hard under her tutelage, she found another piano teacher for me and my brother. We liked this piano teacher because she had a swimming pool, and we would go swimming while we waited for the other of us to have our piano lesson. 
This piano teacher had a problem, though. Sometimes I would hold a note longer than it’s value, and this teacher would sharply push my hand up. It frightened me, and although I wanted to play the piano, I didn’t like this type of punishment for making a mistake. 
My mother could see that this wasn’t working for me, and soon she found another piano teacher, but the cost for lessons increased. It also required driving from a small town into the city every week. 
This was a big sacrifice for my mother to make for me, yet it opened the door to many more opportunities, including learning to drive the car in a big city when I turned 16. 
The Savior’s kindness to us is similar to my mom providing piano lessons for me. She paid the piano teachers, and because she paid the debt in full, she could turn to me and ask for something in return. 
What did she ask? She asked me to practice. 
Does my practice pay the piano teacher? No. Does my practice repay my mother for paying the piano teacher? No. Practicing is how I show appreciation for my mother’s incredible gift. It’s how I take advantage of this amazing opportunity that my mother gave me to be able to play the piano at a higher level, to forgive more fully, or to show kindness in the face of unkindness. My mother’s joy was not found in getting repaid, but in seeing her gift used and enjoyed by others. 
Sometimes we don’t enjoy practicing. It’s hard, and it feels like it takes forever to get it right. My mom would call out, “B flat,” from the other room, and I could never understand how she knew — until I taught the piano to children of my own. As a child, we don’t see how much better we could be when we practice. From my mother’s point of view, she could see my potential.
The Savior can see our potential. When we practice loving and forgiving we are not paying the demands of justice — even in the smallest part.  Instead, we are showing appreciation for what Jesus Christ did for us by practicing. 
As a young pianist, when I played a wrong note, my mother didn’t say that I was not worthy to keep practicing. My mother didn’t expect me to be flawless. She expected me to keep trying. Learning takes a life time. While perfection may be the ultimate goal, for now we can be content with progress in the right direction.
I love my mother, and it is her undying love for me that reminds me that painful experiences are simply the beginning of another song yet to be practiced.
Remember… you're practicing.

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