When I was in college, I learned a valuable life lesson from an unlikely source…my bass professor.
During a lesson in preparation for my senior recital, he stopped me midway through a section. I studied the music to see where I’d made a mistake (but didn’t see anything) so I began again. He quickly stopped me and said, “Play a C major scale.”
Without flinching, I flew up the fingerboard, but before I had reached the next octave, he interrupted me yet again.
“Let me see it,” he said. Unnerved, I handed him my upright bass and bow, wondering if it wasn’t too late to change majors. He began to play the scale slowly, making each note ring with purpose. In fact, my instrument had never sounded better!
“You’ve forgotten why you became a bassist,” he counseled, as he made my instrument come alive. “Listen to each note. Enjoy how rich it sounds. Feel how it resonates through your body.”
He was right. I had become so consumed with flashy speed and finger dexterity that I’d lost touch with my passion. I was playing notes, not music.
Although this was a music lesson, I’ve found that this truth spills over into every aspect of my life: writing, marriage, parenting, spirituality…
I often have to take a moment and ask myself: “Have I forgotten my first love?” “Have I forgotten why I became a _____?”
And since speed kills–and we’re all going 100 mph in a 50 zone–I know I need to take drastic measures. So I take my foot of the gas, pull off to the side of the road, gaze into the sunset, and get reacquainted with my heart.
For me, it’s the difference between life and LIFE!