In a paradoxical way, afflictions and sorrow prepare us to experience joy if we will trust in the Lord and His plan for us. This truth is beautifully expressed by a 13th-century poet: “Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.”
Today I found an interview which was posted online in 2010 by mormonartist.net and highlighted the musical career of Crawford Gates (my Grandfather). There was one quote that was particularly moving to me and I wanted to share it here. Grandad was an extremely talented musician, but even more than that, he was a man of faith. This quote shows how completely he “let go” and allowed God to work through him.
As a composer, with all eight hundred and seventy-four pieces, I had two prayers. I have an “empty-page prayer.” I look at the page, and I’ve got to fill it with beautiful music. Where is that going to come from? I don’t have beautiful music within me. It’s got to come from the Lord, but he is going to give it to me. So the empty-page prayer is a prayer of supplication: “Help me do something beautiful for this need.” And that was certainly true with Promised Valley, that was certainly true with the Hill Cumorah Pageant, and that was certainly true with Joseph! Joseph!.
Then there’s the second prayer: I got a page. The Lord has given it to me. I get on my knees next to my piano or next to my desk. “Thank you for this beautiful music. Thank you, Heavenly Father.”
Two prayers: “empty page,” “full page.” It’s been that way all my life. And it may not be just one prayer, or two prayers; it’s a week of prayers, or a month of prayers.
This morning I started my day with Adriene (are you familiar with Yoga with Adriene?). She is currently doing a free 30 days of yoga program entitled “Dedicate.” At the end of the session today, she shared this quote. I loved it and wanted to share:
“The breeze of grace is always blowing. Set your sail to catch that breeze.”
Today I’m working on sorting through my digital clutter. I’m making progress! I love the feeling of cleaning out and getting rid of things I don’t need- especially at the beginning of a fresh, new year. As I was looking through files in my google drive, I came across this beautiful piece of writing again and reading it was an enjoyable break. Maybe you’ll enjoy it too!
Our Deepest Fear By Marianne Williamson
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.
We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
Another composer hero of mine is Howard Shore. I am completely in awe with the music of “The Lord of the Rings” (he is the masterful composer that wrote the score). I was watching an interesting spotlight on him this week and I thought this quote was especially worth writing down:
“Most of everything I write is a learning process. I want to try something, express some idea…There’s not a real comfortable nature to it. There has to be some struggle, I think, to create something of value, so there’s always that searching inwards. As difficult as it is, it’s a wonderful journey.”
Knowing that the process is challenging even for the brilliant composers makes me feel like I’m on the right track when things are tough!
Also- doesn’t it make you want to go back and watch Froto? Here’s a youtube clip I just pulled up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjAAC13al9s
I don’t have any idea where I got this quote (maybe from one of you reading this!) but I LOVE it. It sits at the very front of my “Melodies of Light” binder to remind me that “the verdict is in.”
“Performing. It’s a subject I think about more often than most, since I make my living as a performing artist. As my husband and I were packing this morning, preparing for an event in Long View, TX, I was reminded of a performance I witnessed a few years back. The evening began with the MC giving some announcements, then introducing the band. In his kind and gracious introduction, he explained that this band was a farily new band and had never played for a crowd quite this large before. And then he did the coolest thing: He asked the audience to give the band a standing ovation as soon as they took the stage. So that’s what happened. The moment those young, timid, terrified musicians stepped foot on that platform, the audience erupted in applause! At first, the band members were so shocked that they could barely remember who played what instrument, but after a few seconds, they began to smile and laugh a bit. What followed was the best music that band had ever played. There’s just something to be said for receiving our ovation before we even start performing.
As I start my day today, it is good for my soul to remember that God has given me a standing ovation before I even begin to perform. The verdict is in: not guilty loved, valued, forgiven, restored, adopted, friend. I do not have to perform in order to gain His approval, yet His overwhelming love and approval is exactly what compels me to perform for Him. I long for the words of my mouth and meditations of my heart to be acceptable in His sight because He has already accepted me as His own. Whether I succeed or fail at my task, His love is unconditional and was earned by another’s merit, not my own. So as you step out today, whatever deeds you are called to perform, as a mom, an employee, a friend, know that you begin your day with His standing ovation and let that compel you towards love and good deeds.”