Sunday, April 26, 2015


Last night I had an orchestra concert that included Brahms' 4th Symphony.  I had a little moment, as the concert was beginning, where I was waiting for the conductor's downbeat and was suddenly filled with... I'm not sure what, really.  I love the sight of a conductor I enjoy playing for, illuminated in the bright stage lights, clear lines of motion against the blackness of the audience.  I felt my violin and bow in my hands, thought of the skilled artistry and craftsmanship and financial value they represent, and felt lucky to do what I do.  Privileged.

Of course, it's work, and there are many hours of it feeling like hard work for every I'm-so-lucky moment.  This past week's gigs were in NH, so I was driving an hour each way each night.  Coming home most nights, I could barely keep my eyes open.  I'd stop for an iced coffee, even run a quick lap around my car to keep myself alert.  Get home around 11 or a little after, just in time for the baby to start her frequent night wakings for the rest of the night.

I drove home last night with concert warm-and-fuzzies, still enjoying the afterglow that Brahms can provide, but this morning I was dead tired when the baby woke around 6 am.  After being awake at 12:00, and 1:30, and 3:30, and 5:00.

I got the kids breakfasted and bathed and dressed, and we headed into Boston to attend church where Nathan works as music director.  I was So Crazy Stupid Tired I could barely keep my eyes open driving... and this was 10 am, not 10 pm.

Some people get crabby or punchy when they're tired; I tend to get weepy.  A kind stranger on the streets of Boston said, "You've got your hands full!", and then added, looking me in the eye briefly, "You're doing a good job," and I admit, my eyes got a little watery at the affirmation.  

My kids went {somewhat}happily into their respective nursery care rooms, and God must have known I needed that, because I got to sit through most of the church service and hear the sermon, which coincidentally, was on the topic of Sabbath rest.

Rest.  I wanted some, so badly.  And the pastor spoke of it in such eloquent terms, my eyes welled up on more than one occasion.  Somehow he never got to the part about how mothers of very young children are supposed to find this rest, though.

The choir sang a favorite anthem of mine, a text by Peter Abelard, a bit of which goes:

O what their joy and their glory must be,
those endless Sabbaths the blessèd ones see;
crown for the valiant, to weary ones rest:
God shall be All, and in all ever blest.

Truly, "Jerusalem" name we that shore,
vision of peace that brings joy evermore;
wish and fulfillment can severed be ne'er,
nor the things prayed for come short of the prayer.

Now, in the meantime, with hearts raised on high,
we for that country must yearn and must sigh,
seeking Jerusalem, dear native land,
through our long exile on Babylon's strand.

An endless Sabbath rest awaits us.  God's work is finished.  Christ's work is finished.  But my work won't be finished for a very long time, and even though I managed to sneak in a 45-minute nap this afternoon while my children's naps overlapped, the day didn't feel very restful.

But I left the children's things lying strewn around the living room more than I usually would have, pondering the idea that it isn't the work we give ourselves to do, or that others give us to do, that matters.  It's the work God has given us to do.   He is our boss, and He has given us a day off.  This day of rest is manifested differently in different lives; in ours, it usually and quite unavoidably involves work.  It is Nathan's job to work at church on Sundays for nearly twelve hours.  My work often involves Sunday concerts or rehearsals.  And of course, it is work to keep children cared for.  But today I was reminded to take the moments of rest where I can.

It'll be there for me tomorrow, stray socks and shoes, small Sunday-best smocked dresses, and laundry waiting to be folded and put away.  Perhaps, by all reasonable counts, I "ought" to have done some of this work tonight, since tomorrow will have work of its own.  Music to practice for two upcoming concerts this week.  Lessons to teach, a studio recital to plan for.  But this evening, after my girls were tucked in their beds, I ate takeout Thai food with Nathan and then changed into my pajamas, cozy in bed before 10 pm for the first time in too long.  

1 comment:

  1. Glad you were able to get some sleep! I constantly struggle with burdens that I put on myself - holding myself to a higher standard than I would ever hold another person. Isn't it amazing that we serve a God who wants us to rest? Who invites us to rest? Who praises Mary while Martha chides? I hope you can hold on to this spirit of restfulness even through the crazy hours, the hectic schedule, and the ups and downs of the week. Thanks for the good reminder.