Life is the practice of turning up every day however it presents itself. In each step we take, we find the grace of being present to what the day presents within another moment of practice.
When I was a young girl I learned to play the accordion. I didn’t want to play the accordion. I wanted to play the piano. But my father loved the accordion and insisted that is what my sister and I take.
“You can’t take a piano to a party,” he’d say and under my breath I’d mutter, “I wouldn’t be caught dead taking an accordion to a party.” Hyper conscious of what my friends would think, I held my secret of accordion mastery close.
My sister and I had to practice daily. She dutifully put her fingers to the keys, squeezing the bellows in and out, carefully following the notes on the sheet of music laid out on the music stand before her.
I would practice more haphazardly. I’d fidget and stall. Chatter about how the notes danced on the page without my having to play them and squeeze out notes just for fun. I’d play tunes I’d heard on the radio, believing I intuitively knew the notes that needed to follow each note without needing the music in front of me. With each piece I played, I had faith the next would follow. I had faith my body would know which note belonged.
I was good at playing by ear. Not so good at following the notes. Though, when I had to, I could, follow the notes that is. It’s just they were not want interested me most. I wanted to experiment. To chart my own path. Create my own sounds. Test the limits of my faith in my body to know which note came next just by the sound of the last one that I played.
When it came to exam time, my sister always beat me by one or two marks. I didn’t have her patience, nor commitment to practice. I al.so didn’t have her faith in the value of practicing studiously every day.
I no longer play accordion. Yet, when given the chance, I will sit down at a piano keyboard and attempt to play the notes of a popular song. In my mind, I play beautifully. On the keyboard, it’s another matter.
I have lost the art of knowing the music. Of feeling each note before it appears and having faith my body will know which one to play without needing to read it on a sheet of music in front of me.
Faith is like that. It takes daily practice and a deep commitment to living it, whatever it is for me, every single day. It takes trusting the unseen note will appear because it is the one that fits next to the last one just played.
In the art of living faith on a daily basis, daily, moment by moment, practice is an essential ingredient to finding the path where I belong.
It doesn’t always come naturally to me, but with practice, it does come with grace.