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In Tune

My chest tense like the viola strings; I wince with each minute turn. I'll never forget the feeling of a string bursting up towards my face like a jack-in-the-box as I inclined my ear to hear and tune. One little nudge to the peg box causes the instrument to be out of tune. As you adjust one peg, you have to return and recheck the previous because even the act of tuning one string can throw a previously tuned string off. Restringing the instruments or adjusting the bridge (the part in the middle that suspends the four strings with tension) requires effort and patience. Every single time I'm tempted: Perhaps it won't matter. She can just play it a little off.

However, this will not do. I know that if we play off-tune our ear never learns the perfect pitch of the notes involved to create the beautiful melody.

I'll just wait for her teacher to come and his master hands can tune from scratch in under 5 minutes.

This will also not do. If I didn't take the time to learn how to string, tune, and adjust their instruments, the girls would inherit the same attitude. I have them watch my tuning. I have them tune with the tiny pegs in the center of their instruments for notes that are off by less than -10 or +10... preparation for eventually tuning the bigger peg box.

Oh how easily I am bumped and nudged by life, by sin, by distractions and pretty soon all of my life is just off. I am frustrated with myself. Sometimes I wallow.

"I'll never get it" rings in my ear.

Look at least I'm not doing that.

Come on, Angel, you're fine. It's not realistic to think you can be perfect.

As with every lie whispered in my ear, there is a smidge of truth. It is true that I have changed. I have developed some key habits that keep me connected to the One. The deception comes subtly; insinuating that I have grown enough. I have already become.

It's these details in life that make all the difference in learning to be faithful. We were made harmoniously. The Creator made us in His image. He is the melody; the harmony. In a world that increasingly says there is no absolute Truth. MY truth- YOUR truth... No true pitch.

We only need to observe the created world in which we live in to admire the order, the beauty... Truth is.

Recently the girls and I have been studying the sky. I had never spent much time in wonder over the vast expanse above me. How tragic. Did you know that there is constantly a sunrise and sunset happening over and over again as the terminator line makes its way around our sphere? Occasionally we stop to admire a beautiful sunset and perhaps even marvel at the mix of colors. What of the faithful rotation around the sun since the world was formed? The insight into an ever waking, rising sun on Earth throughout all of Eternity.

An ever setting sun, closing the chapter on the day for all 24/7.

Oh but Angel, you're such a romantic. That's sweet.

Have we lost the ability to wonder and marvel at the world we inhabit? We have created for ourselves mini-kingdoms that "create" for us anything we want. Our boxed-in worlds are climate-controlled, bug-controlled, scent-controlled, and even interaction-with-other-humans-controlled.

Only 500 years ago, Capernicus contradicted the commonly accepted "fact" that the Earth was at the center of the universe. Galileo and many other observers would confirm that the Sun is the center, and Earth rotates and revolves around it. Observing, wondering, and awe inspire us to make these connections. Connections that will disrupt the norm, but that will fine tune our ears to reality.

The greater question that I have been turning over and over in my mind the past few years is: Am I paying attention? Ear inclined to the peg box?

In a sense we have gone back in time. Although we intended for the machines and technologies to make our lives easier, is that really the goal we should strive for? Ease?

We are now relying on our phones to remember for us. Remember moments through pictures instead of soaking in the memory through our own senses. After all, a picture could not smell the scent of orange peel as my dad pushed the half-orange over a spinning juicer. It cannot taste the fresh juice and feel the sticky surface of the little shot glasses we used for our Saturday morning breakfasts. All of these senses and connections are a part of an intricate memory that I saved without my phone's eye.

Attention. Am I giving it? Local connection beckons us to participate, while our heads bow to see "life" across the world through our screens. Our senses dulled and relying on digital albums to remind us of why something mattered to us in that moment.

So what do I do? How can I engage in attention without relying on the crutch in my pocket? I must remember what it is to do the work of remembering myself. Reactivate my mind to recall. I write in my journal. Recalling the senses and bringing them into an order on the page. I engage in telling someone face-to-face about the experience of that day or week. Instead of starting a new show on Netflix, I sit with Joel and talk about our day. We recall the day, and share the good, the challenging, and all the in between. This connection is gold.

I am learning from my kids. The invitation to go bump a volleyball. The inspiration to draw a fairy princess. Painting for fun. A spontaneous bike ride. Pointing out a beautiful new flower in bloom on a bush we walk by regularly.

My brain begins to long for these meaningful connections, and see the screens for what they are... a lesser reality. Being with someone or something in full attention is fully living. Presence is a gift we have stopped giving and stopped receiving.

The virtual world isn't evil, but it is a lesser reality than the present I am in. The invitation is one of worship. My attention says to the world around me, I am safe. I belong. I rejoice. I am in tune.

Oh Lord, invigorate my senses. Speak to me. Engage me in the world around me so that I can love like You do. May I incline my ear, lift up my eyes, and touch of Your goodness around me. Let me taste and see that the Lord is good right where I am. Psalm 34

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