Of Hope and Great Expectations

29 12 2008

Just so we’re clear, I have noticed that the number of somber, wet-blanket-type entries to this journal have increased to the point that it’s starting to tilt towards the gloomy end of the spectrum. I would like to rectify that, with this last post before 2009. Good things have happened to me in the past few weeks, ladies and gentlemen; I just never got around to writing about them. I shall do so now.

First, I would like to write about The Orchestra, and the beloved musicians therein. Our rehearsals can usually be rated on a scale ranging from “I should have stayed in bed” all the way up to Handel-ian (named after G.F. Handel, who wrote the Messiah oratorio, which, as one of the english teachers put it, “Induces goosebumps of all sorts”). Our last rehearsal, last for 2008, is unequivocaly Handelian, on so many levels.

For one, people actually came on time. OK, so not everyone – there was still the occasional straggler, trying to sneak into the rehearsal, but oh, the sound! Fureai was a delight to both conduct and listen to: the orchestra pianist enchanted everyone with his opening solo – so much so that the strings forgot to come in when I cued them. Jem, this year’s assistant concertmaster soundly kicked everyone’s behinds as she smoked the violin solo (a solo that induces many a “What the…” excalamation from the violinists). Intonation was surprisingly crisp between the strings – something that doesn’t happen often, really, and it made listening to the glorious cadences towards the end of the piece like drinking liquid sugar. Somewhere in Time was equally amazing, especially when we had the unison melody running through the violins and the violas – I remember being very much surprised that the quality of the orchestra’s playing was practically performance-worthy. Even the cellos (all two of them), who have notoriously knotty parts, seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Actually, I would like to just unequivocally declare here and now how  proud I am of my students – so if you’re one of them, I am fiercely proud of you. Sure, there are times when you disappoint me – like when you fail to meet a standard I have set because you were too lazy to even try, or when you exhibit some very poor decision making regarding your behaviour and/or choice of words – but I want there to be no doubt in your mind that I don’t demand these things from you just to make your life miserable; I believe in you – in the kind of person you can be and in what you can accomplish, and you just can’t become that without experiencing stress. It hurts me to watch you struggle (and listen to you whine), but imagine what it would be like if I removed all the stress: why, we would still be performing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star! Not exactly something you can declare with pride after high school, if I may say so. But look at you: you’re playing music from Pirates of the Caribbean, from Handel’s Messiah! This isn’t the kind of music that is expected from people your age! Your performances aren’t supposed to give listeners goosebumps…but they do!

I watch you progress through the year, how you whine about a cello part being impossible to play, how you complain through your teeth about the practice schedule and how it gets in the way of your social life. But I watch you try, I watch you learn, and oh, the look on your face when a part clicks and you finally understand how it contributes to the whole! The brightness of your smiles as you practically squeal for another repetition! Just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes – I really do have the greatest job in the world!

This being my final post for 2008, I want to say I love you – not because you’re talented or smart or good-looking (although just so we’re clear, The Orchestra is made-up of beautiful people) – but because you are my students. It is my great delight to drop whatever it is I’m doing when you knock on my door and would like to talk. It is my great joy to share with you what God has done and is doing in my life, and to pray for you as He works in yours.

I guess this post was originally supposed to be a list, but now I realize that really, if there is one thing I must declare, to my students and anyone else who follows my blog: God has moved in my life, and I am in awe of it all. It’s like a cloud has been blown away from across the night sky and I can fully behold the glory of the heavens, sprinkled across the sky from horizon to horizon, silent yet undeniably awesome.

This year, I have been tested and stretched; I have experienced, if only in part, the joy of a life surrendered to God’s sovereign will – I have learned that there is no good alternative to total obedience; I have glimpsed the joy with which the psalmist wrote: I delight in the law of Your word. Let me unashamedly declare that the Lord has been good and is good to me – I cannot truthfully deny it. What else can I say but “Thank you, God”?.

And for anyone who might be struggling to see this in the midst of their circumstances, I want to say, “Yes, the Darkness is dark, and the night can be overwhelming, but do not lose hope – choose to be thankful for what you have, and reject the temptation to grow bitter over what you do not. Choose to obey regardless of how it might feel, regardless of how illogical it may seem, and the morning will come – and its breaking will be so bright and glorious you will fall to your knees, lift up your hands, and your shouts of thanksgiving will ring forth.”

Whew. I haven’t written like that in a long time – I have missed it. I hope it strikes a hopeful chord in all of us as we approach the New Year.

We delight in law of Your word;
We delight in the Son who was perfect from birth;
We delight in the day He’s returning to earth;
Hallelujah, Hallelujah.

~ Caedmon’s Call, We Delight

Thank you, Lord, for 2008. I know that whatever the coming year holds for me – whatever the pain, the sorrow, the struggle – I will find You there, waiting for me. Happy New Year.




4 responses

30 12 2008


30 12 2008

Thank You too!!!!!

1 01 2009

happy new year, sir. ive learned a lot from you :]

5 01 2009

“Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.” -tagline from the shawshank redemption

there is another great year ahead of us. 😀

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