Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Ensign Article

Awhile back I wrote an article that was just published in the January 2012 Ensign.  You can read the article by clicking this link or see it below. 
Mom taught all of her 13 children to play the piano, but I never made it easy for her. I remember lying on the piano bench whining, insisting it was too hard. I learned, but to say that I played well would be an overstatement.

Years passed. I married and my husband was accepted to dental school. As we prepared to move to Indiana, I felt frequent impressions to practice the piano. I feared it was because our new ward did not have enough pianists.

Sure enough, shortly after we settled into the ward, the bishop extended to me a calling to be the Relief Society pianist. My heart sank. I told him I didn’t play very well but I would try. I fought tears as I left his office and cried all the way home.

After several sleepless nights, I concluded that I would simply tell the bishop that I had reconsidered. Even though my parents had taught me to always accept callings, I just couldn’t do this.
Before calling the bishop, however, I talked it over with my husband, who encouraged me to at least try. He reminded me that I had yearned to play better and that this could be an opportunity to do so. I decided he was right.

I prayed fervently and asked for Heavenly Father’s help. The words of Proverbs 3:5–6 came to my mind: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” With those words in mind, I put my trust in Him.

The only hymns I could play were those without any sharps or flats. Unfortunately, those would get me through only a few weeks. When I talked to the former Relief Society pianist about my situation, she kindly offered to substitute for a month while I practiced. Another friend offered to watch my children so that I could focus on practicing.

The first week I played in Relief Society, I made so many mistakes that I could barely see through my tears. When I finished, I didn’t want to come out from behind the piano. But the sisters in the ward were so encouraging that I kept trying.

As I continued to practice the piano—sometimes for more than two hours a day—I slowly began to improve. I’m still not an excellent pianist, but now I feel confident enough to volunteer when needed.
I’m thankful my loving parents taught me to accept callings. I was the Relief Society pianist for less than a year, but my testimony of and love for my Heavenly Father grew more than I ever could have imagined. I know that when we trust in Him, He will direct our paths, and we can see His hand in all things.
More about this calling:  The lady that was the chorister for Relief Society was hearing impaired.  She would put her hand on the piano to feel the vibrations to know how to lead (what tempo).  The only problem was that I was playing slow and making many mistakes, so I was hard to follow.  We were quite a pair trying to make it through the hymns each week!  (This was also a testimony to me that she agreed to the calling to be chorister.  She could have offered the best excuse of all for not being able to do it.  Yet she did it.)

On one occasion, she called me on a Saturday afternoon through a TDD service for hearing impaired.  They were able to relay a message to me.  I was told by the person relaying the message that she had given me the wrong practice hymn.  When I was told the correct practice hymn and was off the phone, I immediately ran downstairs to my hymn book and opened to the hymn.  My heart sank when I saw that the hymn had 3 flats and I would be unable to play it (especially without all the time that I needed to practice it).  I had to call a substitute for the practice hymn.  I'm sure people were confused that Sunday when they announced the practice hymn (and that I was the pianist) only to have someone else get up and play the hymn instead.

I think the older I get, the more I realize that I can laugh at myself and not take things so seriously.  I can be content with who I am and who I am trying to become.


Dr. John Owen said...

I love this chapter of our life. I love this experience. Perfect example of why we should accept callings to serve, even when we think it is beyond our means. To me, my kids are a constant reminder that the Lord can do more with our lives than we can. That is to say, I have no idea what I'm doing with kids. Being a Father is well beyond my abilities and yet they seem to be doing alright... thanks to the Lord and His encouragements and His instructions.

Erin said...

What an awesome article! You are an amazing person and have always been a great example to me and many others! We will be using your article for our FHE lesson next month:)

lindygirl said...

I totally remember this. I was your visiting teacher during this time. Thanks for sharing. You are amazing.

Heather Davies said...

That was an awesome article!! I wish they would've put in the part about the hearing impaired chorister--holy cow that's difficult. I remember you sharing this back in Destin in June 2010, and each month I'd eagerly look through the Ensign to find your article. Glad it's out so I can brag about you! :)