More Music or More Noise?

“Do you wanna hear my song, Daddy? I’ve been practicing all year.”

I eyed my five-year-old daughter suspiciously. With brown eyes, huge and earnest, she sat at my dad and mom’ piano. Her little sister sat subsequent to her, fortunately taking part in away at what she insisted was “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep,” although I may detect no discernible melody.


The eldest nodded furiously, casting sideways glances at her sister. I suspected the entire thing was an excuse to justify ejecting mentioned little sister from the piano bench, however I stored my suspicions to myself.

“What song?”

“Jingle Bells,” she mentioned, fairly convincingly. “I’ve been practicing all year.”

Now, there are two issues to learn about this state of affairs. One: “Jingle Bells” was the music I had been about to play, and actually the sheet music was proper there, open and prepared. I’m no Mozart, however I did take piano classes via fourth grade, so I can play “Jingle Bells.”

The second factor to know is that we don’t have a piano at our home. We do have a keyboard, although its major operate as of late appears to be to supply the cat with one more flat floor upon which to lounge. I can rely on one hand the variety of occasions my daughter has performed it.

I can rely on no palms the variety of occasions she’s practiced.

All yr, I believed. Sure. But I mentioned, “Why don’t you let me show you how to play ‘Jingle Bells’? The music is right here.”

A grimace. A decided shake of the top. “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep”—in concept—taking part in within the background.

“I want to play my song,” she insisted.

And so she started, a collision of sound that only a few would name “Jingle Bells” mixing with what just one particular person would name “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep.”

I shrugged and wandered again into the kitchen.

Of course, it’s essential to let youngsters be youngsters and to allow them to play and have enjoyable with music and musical devices. She’s not attempting out for the band; she will play “Jingle Bells” nevertheless she likes. And who is aware of? Maybe she’s going to be some kind of musical prodigy, capable of hear and translate “Jingle Bells” at a degree I’ve by no means even thought of.

But I couldn’t shake my very own frustration at her refusal to let me assist her. The reply she was in search of was actually throughout her: the music at her fingertips and her personal dad with simply sufficient musical expertise to assist her accomplish her purpose standing simply behind her.

But she refused—as youngsters are wont to do—and insisted on placing her head down and banging out some cacophony of sound and noise slightly than music.

Quite a bit has been mentioned concerning the magis—that Ignatian idea that roughly means the extra. The thought comes from the Spiritual Exercises, discovered inside the First Principle and Foundation—proper up on the very entrance of the retreat: “Our one desire and choice should be what is more conducive to the end for which we are created.” (SE 23)

And this problem to dwell the magis, couched as it’s within the First Principle and Foundation, calls for that we situate magis alongside Ignatian indifference. After all, only some sentences earlier, Ignatius writes: “We must make ourselves indifferent to all created things, as far as we are allowed free choice and are not under any prohibition.” He goes on to say that we should always not maintain too tightly to any explicit lifestyle, any objects or concepts, or even {our relationships}, as they’re solely good for us—and, thus, all of creation—in as far as they carry us nearer to “the end for which we are created.”

Our alternative, made in freedom, is for that path which is extra conducive to attaining these ends.

And so, right here’s the query we’d all do effectively to contemplate: How typically will we sit down at that proverbial piano, certain and decided to play it our approach, holding so tightly to our self-image—“But I’ve been practicing!”—and refusing to just accept the assistance and insights throughout us?

We may but be an excellent pianist—and maybe, that’s what we’re known as to be! But what’s extra conducive to changing into that which we hope to be typically means surrendering our personal strategy, trying up and round, and realizing that we will and will place our belief in others.

That maybe God has organized sheet music and positioned it proper in entrance of our noses, if we simply search for.

We’re known as to make music, not simply noise. But to take action, to make that music solely we will make, we’d need to let go of preconceptions and assumptions—about ourselves and about our God.

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