counting

I come from numbers.
My dad is a CPA, my mom is a CPA, even my older brother is a CPA and even Although I don't think I have attempted to balance a checkbook since the 90s, my math sat scores were still impressive. I usually like to think that I left all that nice neat left braindedness behind in my high school calculus class.

I talk in circles.
I rarely drive straight.
and nothing in my life seems to fit a formula.
and sometimes I miss those nice assured answers. The ones you can be certain of. The ones that can be checked at the back of the book.
Instead, I am all over the place. I have no sense of limits. I do not show my work. I can never prove my answer. I and am one eraser mark short of tearing a hole right through the page.

But I still find myself counting.
counting the minutes.
counting the days.
counting the miles.
counting backwards to go to sleep.
counting my blessings.

The other night as I was in that place of almost sleep, I remembered a song I used to play. My 5th grade school violin solo. Minuet #3.
I don't know why it popped into my head, it must have been the cold medicine.
I did not remember the notes or the tune so much as I remembered a pattern of #s.

3-1-3-2-0-1-2.    2-2.

and they repeated themselves all sing-songy in my head.
in that order over and over.
just exactly how my 10 year old fingers hit the strings.
until eventually I fell asleep.

Those little numbers came out as music.
as beautiful.
but, the creation of them was in the counting.

I read this recently on Ann Voskamp's webiste....
"how a piano teacher had once stood over the white keys and had whispered it to a muddled protege: "When you are a musician and you stop counting? …it’s like running around in the forest, in the dark without a flashlight."

When you’re a musician and you stop counting
you’ve lost the song’s way.

When you’re a follower of Christ, and you stop counting you’ve lost your way."

 

That song, back in the 5th grade was tough. They hardest one in the whole school. My teacher made me stand on the stage and play it at our spring concert. Alone.
I'm sure, that I missed a few notes, scratched my bow on the wrong string and was terribly nervous.
but I stood there and played.
By then it was memorized. I did not need the sheet music. The notes. The ones everyone in the audience heard.
I closed my eyes and played. number by number. Until the clapping started and I sat my shaking knees back down in the metal folding chair.

I have stopped playing the violin. The case all duct taped and dusty sits on a closet shelf. I rarely make music anymore. And I keep thinking one day, maybe I will pull it back and attempt to play again. I think my fingers will still remember where to go. And after all, I still know how to count.
Even if occasionally I think I might have lost my way.

And there is so much more to making something beautiful than numbers. It is not that simple.

But this is.

What we hear in our head is not necessarily what other people hear.
At 10 I knew this. my head spoke numbers, my hands played music.
Many years later, I am struggling with that same concept.
Making sure that what I hear in my head is not what I start to play.

At night the reason I try to count is to fall asleep. Some day it is the only way. That and Tylonal PM. I count thankfulness so that I can remember what I actually have instead of all the things I think I want. But mostly, I count prayers to replace the lies that whisper how not enough I am.

I just keep counting,
and I hope that what comes out is a song.

6 comments:

katy said...

That's interesting -- I definitely still have "muscle memory" of songs I played years ago. I nearly know I could pick up the violin and play some of these without the music because my fingers would know what to do. It might sound like dying cats, but that's another matter.

The finger pattern you wrote in this post doesn't sound like Minuet #3, though. It sounds like Minuet #2... almost. Minuet #2 would be 3-1-3-2-0-1-2 3-3 (back to the starting note.) Mrs. Burke taught me to sing "Min-u-et com-posed by J-S-Bach" with this tune, and I can rarely hear the piece without singing that in my head.

Now if I could just remember what happened yesterday as well as I remember inane things like this....

michelle said...

Ok, Katy. You have it right. I have my minuet and my last 2 #s wrong! I didn't get mrs. Burke for a few years after that one!

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