The past couple days have been great days, among the many difficult and stressful days surrounding them. They were definitely full days, but great days nonetheless. As I think about how to go about telling this story, I am thinking of the line from Inception: "I'm asking you to take a leap of faith." And even though in the movie this line is in really bad context, I heard God tell me this last night and I responded immediately, without even thinking about what I was doing. By now, you're probably wondering what I'm talking about, so I won't keep you in suspense any more: I decided to start teaching piano lessons.
Here's the story. Last night I went to the HeartSong Christmas party (which has nothing to do with my teaching piano lessons, but it was a great time). It was fun hanging out with friends by Jim's REAL Christmas tree and opening white elephant presents. I almost went home with a Snuggie, but ended up with a Here I Am To Worship for Kids CD, which makes for a good story, I suppose. Anyway, when I got back to my room at about 11:30, I checked my e-mail and saw that Mrs. Anderson, my keyboard pedagogy teacher, had e-mailed me around 8:15. She told me about a woman who called her and wanted to pay for piano lessons for her granddaughter for Christmas and wanted to know if there were any teachers available for the spring semester. Then Mrs. A asked me if I wanted to be her teacher. And she needed a response by the next day so she could ask another pedagogy student if I said no.
I told Mrs. A countless times, I don't want to teach my sophomore year. As a sophomore, I haven't taken directed teaching yet, even though I have had enough pedagogy classes that I could teach if I wanted to. But I didn't want to. I was so nervous I would do something horribly wrong and the student would either hate piano and want to quit or end up with horrible technique as she got older. But for some reason, I felt like I needed to say yes. Mrs. A told me she felt confident that I could do it in the e-mail, and the fact that she asked me first also told me that she wanted me to do it. So I did something totally crazy and said yes. When I did, I started thinking about a line from my sister's favorite movie How to Train Your Dragon, a conversation between two main characters:
Astrid: What are you going to do now?
Hiccup: Probably something stupid.
Astrid: Okay, but you've already done that.
Hiccup: Then something crazy.
I was definitely doing something crazy. I wrote the e-mail and sent it before I had time to talk myself out of it. This morning in chapel I saw Mrs. A, who smiled really big and gave me a thumbs-up from across the room. When I talked to her afterwards, she gave me a huge hug and told me we would talk more about it and that she was really excited for me! Then tonight, I called the grandma and told her my name and arranged to talk to the girl's mom sometime after New Year's about lesson times. I hung up the phone and screamed, out of excitement and terror and anticipation all at once. I can't believe I'm actually doing this!
I'm still terrified that this little 2nd grade girl will end up hating me, or hating piano, or that I will teach her all wrong and mess up her playing for life. But God made it clear to me that I needed to do it. It may not have been as clear as when I started sponsoring a child, but I need to start teaching eventually, why not start with just one this year so I can be more comfortable taking on more next year? I trusted that God had this in mind for me, and seemingly on a whim I put my trust in Him and spontaneously decided to start teaching.
The big thing that God has been telling me lately is to slow down. I say He is telling me this, not teaching me, because I don't know if I'm learning it. In chapel on Tuesday, Dr. Cook talked about discouragement and three things to do if I feel discouraged. The first thing he said was "pause," because God's word is clearer and more easily communicated when we slow down or stop. The second thing is to look to Him, and the third is to adjust. I have been looking at my schedule, which is currently a mass of color with no white, empty space except where I'm sleeping. I want to adjust my schedule and make more time to reflect on Him and to encourage my friends, so I'm cutting back on the number of students I accompany and taking less classes. My gut instinct was to say no to Mrs. A for this same reason, but I think that cutting back on classes and accompaniment things is what helped me realize that teaching could actually be possible. In teaching this girl, I can put my energy into someone besides myself and help her learn something new, take a "pause" from myself for a little bit each week.
In taking time to look for God, it may be that God is the one to find us, first.
P.S. Matt promised me the HeartSong blog would be updated very soon! Check it out sometime over break! http://blogs.cedarville.edu/heartsong/