Off RhYthm / by KR


Yoanna ...
Originally uploaded by ...cathzilla.
Music has been a part of life all the way back to the days of 8-tracks. I started playing violin in grade school after watching Itzhak Perlman play on some PBS show. That led to piano lessons which then led to bass guitar, followed up by acoustic guitar the following year and on and on and on. Unlike Steve Martin in The Jerk, I wasn’t born a poor black child with no rhythm, though I am no Perlman either.

One of the central aspects to enjoying music is the ability to stay in rhythm. When learning a new piece you can’t help but fluctuate on the tempo, trying to find the place that is constant to flow with all the other instruments. Even if you play solo, you are still at your best when you can keep in rhythm with the heart of the song. There is a relationship with it and it takes time to learn how to be with it.

Something that hit me over the weekend was how much I felt out of sync, how I couldn’t seem to stay in rhythm with life. And the way I knew I was off was how on I had been, without even paying attention for the previous weeks and months. For the better part of the end of the week I was plagued with a sense that something was off, a beat was missed here or there. And as these days progressed my confidence in “play” deteriorated. If you have ever played with other musicians you know how this feels. You get off sync with them and sometimes the more you try the worse it gets. Along the way your confidence is shaken and you stop playing all together until it comes back… and sometimes you just give up and walk out.

The source of my misstep seemed to be fear. And the stuff that made up the rhythm in the first place has to do with trust and grace – a common theme in my life. Relationships seemed to stutter and collide when the one or both no longer trust or no longer breathe the grace between them. It only takes one person to hold back on either thing and rhythm is lost. The music no longer sounds like music. It begins to sound like a drunken man stumbling in a band hall with the lights out.

Somewhere along the week a fear of what or where God might be going crept in the side door and I started to withhold trust, stopped receiving grace. And as it carried on, I began to trust less and less not just him, but myself, and all the history we had… I lost confidence. And then I tried to get back on step by “doing” some routine, trying to say the “right” words and it just got ugly; that drunk man crashed into quite a few cymbals and woodwinds before finally standing still, in the dark.

Then it comes. “Trust me. Breathe grace. “

I didn’t start back “playing” my piece, but let the music play around me, let the relationship set the tempo while I sat still. Slowly, the rhythm gets back into my feet and soul. I start to trust again what I knew was trust worthy all along. Grace flows instead of being stopped up. And as I feel it I can engage him, engage others in bits and pieces as the rhythm comes back on line. Fear fades to the periphery.