Sunday, March 19, 2006

I was Saved Again from Distress

For when I am weak, then I am strong.  Paul couldn’t have said it better.  It was only three days ago that I was beginning to lose hope about ever accomplishing my tasks, and now I can see how God pulled me out of another rut.  

In the nick of time, the office printer got fixed so I could print the document I had been working on for weeks and thus meet the deadline.

God enlarged my territory by allowing me to do something for the first time, that is, give a talk and facilitate retreat activities for graduating grade six students!  It was not my forte and I’m not sure if I would do it again, but at least it wasn’t as disastrous as my previous experience of addressing senior college students in a university.

Relationships that had been strained the past year are slowly being healed, as God recently put me in situations where I was forced to respond in love, by His grace, to people I’ve had major differences with.  It is a miracle.  The power of prayer is amazing.  It is true that those who hurt us are those whom we love the most, and vice versa.  Maybe we are growing older and wiser, my friends and I.  Or maybe it was just time to find what we have in common rather than bemoan how far apart we’ve grown.

I missed it by a day, but I was able to finish the talk outline I was expected to turn in for my presentation tomorrow at our CLP.  With very little time and energy left, I asked the Holy Spirit to pour upon me wisdom and knowledge so I could speak God’s Word, especially since the topic is the power of the Holy Spirit.  He graciously heeded my prayer!

The turning point for me happened last Friday night, during the Penitential Service we had in Lingkod QC, in lieu of our regular prayer meeting.  Reflecting on Jesus’ words and actions when He raised Lazarus from the dead, I could not help but see that I did not have to stay in the dark, always fearful of what others might say and anxious that I might make mistakes.  Jesus’ love, His call, and His mission for me were clearly re-established and I had renewed hope in my heart.  To know that He sees my efforts and does not take my failures against me is enough to sustain me.  I can continue working for Him who is my Savior yesterday, today and tomorrow.

A beautiful thing happened today, too.  The piano students of my Mama and my sister-in-law had their recital today at the U.P. Aldaba Hall.  I have been watching recitals like those for as long I can remember, this being the 41st time in her career that Mama conducted one, and yet every year, she has upped the ante.  There are some pieces that have become part of her students’ repertoire, like First Waltz, Fur Elise, and Swaying Daffodils, as the children themselves request if they could play their favorite pieces assigned to other students, in the next recital.  My family and I don’t get too excited anymore with those pieces, although it’s interesting to see how each child would tackle them.  

What made Papa and I sit at the edge of our seats were the extraordinary performances, especially from those students who were part of the mini-Chopin festival. I had goose bumps watching a high school student’s rendition of the Etude which I myself quit trying to play for being too complicated!  The story behind the piece was even more interesting – apparently, it was music that was very close to the boy’s father’s and grandfather’s hearts, as it was played right before the latter passed away.  The boy, only on his third year of piano study, practiced hard and did not let a physical injury, which caused his right arm to be immobilized for a couple of weeks, stop him.  The result was exquisite; it was like listening to a professional recording.  To think it was performed by a high school freshman!  He would be a piano scholar for the coming schoolyear because of his diligence and sheer talent.

My nephews played too – Miko, the littlest student of them all, played Canon by Pachelbel to the delight of the audience, while Luigi performed his chosen piece, a simplified version of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, which drew silent oohs and aahs from the audience.  Their trio with a grade six student was one of the crowd favorites as it was entertaining to watch six little hands fit on one baby grand piano, and to observe Miko’s natural playfulness while waiting for his turn.  His little fingers pounded on the keys at the right moment, although he had to squeeze himself on the tiny space beside his Kuya, and in between his turns, he flipped his hair, sat on his other hand, and swung his legs, which could reach neither the pedals nor the floor yet.  Afterwards, he told me, “Tita Ella, people I didn’t know told me I was good and they kept calling and following me.”  He asked us why people were laughing during their performance.  We told him the truth:  because he was cute and talented, but very makulit.  Their mom and dad were so proud, and they had every right to be, for even though they were so busy with work and helping Mama with the recital, they also supervised the daily practices of the kids.

Everything is possible to one who believes.  I’m hoping for a less stressful week.  I know I worry too much so I write about these blessings to remind me when I get anxious again that all’s well that ends well.  If I just give my best, and recognize that I cannot do anything by myself anyway, then the power of the Holy Spirit would help me, and things would turn out good.  In the piano recital, as in life, mistakes are normal, even expected, and the students just vow to do better, but those who play masterfully should be recognized, and their music remembered, for they inspire us of how good we could be if we practice, believe, and then perform with all our heart.

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