Wednesday, January 11, 2006

the beauty of winter As I pondered "winter" my thoughts turned to bleakness, dead trees, deariness, death. Not very beautiful. Then I started thinking about times in my life that were like that. Times of depression. Depression is like being in the dead of winter--it is dark, lifeless, and miserable. Another way in which depression and winter are similar is in how they find their beauty. The beauty of winter and the beauty of depression are in their ending. Of them yeilding to spring. I spent much of 2004 and part of 2005 depressed. But, God in His mercy lifted me out of the deep, dark pit I had fallen into. The joy that filled my life in the following days was immeasurable! As I learned to live and love again, I kept looking back into the dark prison from which I had emerged only to marvel about how amazing my God is that He was able to resuce me and set me free to enjoy Him and the Life He has given me once again. Yes, the best part of depression (and there is no other good thing about it) is coming out from under it. And for me, that is also the beauty of winter--the promise of the coming spring! And as a sidenote: I am glad that the analogy ends there. Winter must happen every year; it is part of the cycle of life; depression does not have to happen. Praise God. Moreover, there is nothing good about depression except being rescued from it; whereas winter offers several nice things worth enjoying--like snow falling gently blanketing the earth below, like sledding down a hill while screaming and laughing as loud as I can, like ice skatin, and like warming up with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate. Oh, but I now live on a tropical island, and winter days spent like that are only pipe dreams. My most wintery of winter days now consist of weather in the 50s with no heater--and that is a "cold day." Photo originally uploaded by Lady-Bug.
to think or not to think Today, in my erhu lesson*, I had some trouble. I kept messing up with where my fingers should be, but if I got the fingering correct I would be on the wrong string. Why? Why was I just not getting it this week? Last week was great! This week? Oh, I wanted to throw the thing! I'll tell you why I had trouble this week. Every time I had trouble my mind was on something else. Sometimes I was just thinking about technique: "pull. push. pull. am i off? should I be pushing or puling now?" Sometimes I was thinking about the song: "oh, I like this song. it sounds really good on the erhu." Sometimes I was thinking about my own inadequacy, "my teacher makes it sound so pretty, when I play the same song it sounds so ugly." And, once it was on what I am writing about right now: "amanda, if you think about anything, if your mind is filled with thoughts, then you can't play right at all. stop it. now focus." There are very few times in my life where I have had to have the discipline to have a completely thought-free thinker. My thinker loves to think. It is hard to make it think of nothing--to just let my brain tell my hands what to do without thinking about it. But, habits are just this: things we do without thinking about them. And, while I want to stop thinking while I play my erhu, I want to start thinking about my habits--to decide which ones to keep and which ones to declutter from my life. And to decide which ones I want to add to make my life more simple and focused. * The erhu (pictured above) is a two-stringed traditional Chinese instrument. I have been learning to play it for about 8 months now.

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