Fumbling Around in the Dark

“What hobby would you like to pursue in the future when you have the time to do so?”

This was a conversation starter at a women’s dinner I went to this week. It was interesting to hear what the ladies I go to church with dream about in their quiet moments. As we went around the table, I heard the words sewing, pottery, reading, and photography.

I left thinking about the importance of having and pursuing interests as we age. Learning new skills just for the pure enjoyment of the art or craft. I also thought while driving home, just how easy it is to merely dream about such endeavors and never really make them into a reality because our personal hindrances can feel so great.

For me, “the hobby I would like to pursue” has been music. I’ve been taking violin lessons for about 3 1/2 years now, and it has been an amazing teacher. The things I have learned have been simple,  yet very profound and life altering. By that, I don’t mean that there is ANYTHING simple about learning an instrument with zero frets or keys. I’ve often wondered about the music snob who came up with such an instrument based completely on the ear.

You may be thinking, just how far I have to go, if I think the violin has more to do with the ear than with the hands. But what I didn’t realize or take into account before I began was that there is nothing on the violin that tells you where to put your fingers. Which is why my first violin looked like this….only bigger.

I had to have tapes placed on the neck so that I would know where the notes were because my ear could not hear them. Tapes and my favorite….a yellow smiley face sticker for my fourth finger.

A cellist explained it to me this way. “Playing a stringed instrument is like trying to navigate in a dark room. At first, you don’t know what is around you, and you keep bumping into things. But then, if you are willing to be patient and humble, over time you will learn where everything is located.”

Pursuing any hobby or endeavor as an adult is much the same. The unknown can feel threatening, and it is very embarrassing to fumble around in front of others. To have people who can ‘see’ watch you struggle to find your bearings requires a depth of maturity that I lacked before music came into my life.  And now that I have gained more peace in being “seen”, I have found that the final product is not really the point anymore. Of course, I will continue to work towards my goal, which is playing the violin in church or in Nashville, whichever comes first.

But if neither of those things comes to fruition, I will rest in the knowledge that I did not just sit in the dark room, so to speak. I got up, slowly found my way around, and brought music into it.

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