Sunday, November 7, 2010

Always Remember

Wow, I think I need to blow the dust off this page! It sure seems that I’ve stopped writing, but I’d like to let you know that I actually have been writing all these months! I don’t know what will happen to me if I didn’t write. Really, I don’t think my mind would survive if I didn’t take the time to ‘pause’ my life and reflect on things!

But I totally regret that I haven’t had the extra time to edit my writings and post them here. It’s been an unbelievably busy year, and the demands of going to an arts + academics school has been taxing as much as it has been rewarding. A dancer in my Psychology class once humorously said, “Well, what do you expect? We all go to an Arts school. Everyone’s a freak.” Very funny. But quite true, I have thanked God countless times for the opportunity to work among such amazing people! It’s pure AMAZING. VCASS has an environment unlike any other normal school. Next year, my last year in high school, there will only be 17 of us Year 12 musicians!

I’ve met kids who are much, much more talented than I am. Seriously, they are the real freaks! Haha, in a great way. They can compose music for orchestra and play a few instruments at the same level; they can perform a piece from memory without any mistakes, they play crazy concertos when I haven’t even attempted one; they can not practice as much as I do and still memorize a piece quicker. Quite unbelievable as much as it is daunting for me, a total newcomer to this musical madness!

But I thank God for getting me through this year. I couldn’t have done it except by the grace of God. The times I relied on myself, I never succeeded. But when I recognized that my abilities were not my own, but God-given, I realized I mustn’t just limit myself to “becoming as good as the next talented kid”. Sometimes I wonder why God made some kids born with musicality inbuilt and they don’t have to clock in the years of practice, while others who are not so prodigious have to work their tail off and probably never “succeed” by the world’s standards.

But I think God is fair to everyone. Those who are given much, much more will be required of them. You just trust God with what you have and do what you can where you are. I’m beginning to understand that it’s a gift to have to do it the hard way and learn the lessons God wants to teach me along this challenging journey. If God did not allow life to be challenging with unexpected turns, it would be reduced to an uneventful, sequenced series of meaningless events!

So this year has been an incredible milestone for me in music. I thank God so much that for the whole year, I have managed to complete everything in school and not do any “homework” at home! In the beginning of the year, I prayed to God for help and wisdom to manage my time well this hectic year and enable me to complete all my work in school so I can relax when I get home and use the time only to practice music. And God answered me! Of course, I remember my dad once telling me, “For prayer to work, it must be 100% man and 100% God. So yes, I had to do my part and work my tail off, but it all paid off because God gave me the discipline and strength. So I was always free in the weekends to enjoy life and just do music. It’s really been the best school year I’ve had!

Also, a great leap I made this year in music was completing the Australian piano diploma exam. I was so relieved that I had received the award! It has been a tough year because I’ve been juggling the VCASS performances, performance seminars, music group exam (I was in a piano duet) and the diploma program. I remember with a sheepish smile my first VCASS performance in February. I could barely play one minute of a piece without having a memory lapse! It was quite terrifying to be unable to continue in front of an audience.

But 9 months down the road, by God’s grace I’ve managed to get quite used to performing. I’m learning to accept my nervousness and move on. I’m beginning to love performing and feel the thrill of playing by memory. I was so relieved that God gave me the peace to play the diploma program smoothly and play about 20 minutes of music without a memory slip! I’m so thankful God has answered my prayer 3 years ago for the opportunity to perform more and practice on a grand piano! Haha.

By the way, November 3rd marked our family’s 2nd year in Melbourne. All this year I haven’t had the time to reminisce or think about how we’ve advanced every step of the way. I forget so soon the answered prayers and guidance God has given us. I need to always remember that we’re here not simply for a “better life”. I must admit that sometimes the appallingly good life in Australia has made me quite complacent and selfish. Really, I must not become too comfortable.

Sometimes I think, will I stay in Australia for the rest of my life? It’s really an awesome place to live. Everyone’s so comfortable and laid-back. But I think again, that can be a bad thing – getting too comfortable. You tend to forget the more important things. I must always remember, as Daddy said, that “the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

'Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and you say 'I find no pleasure in them.' – Ecclesiastes 12:1

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