Piano lessons - I had years of them. I remember walking the six blocks after school to Mrs. Bennett's little brown house across the way from the little league field for my weekly piano lesson. I tried to hide my plain brown zippered pouch as I waited for the girl who carried the beautiful blue and green clear plastic tote with the mod flowers to finish her lesson. The piano seemed to play itself as she laid her fingers on the keys.
As I sat nervously waiting for my lesson to commence, the angst in my heart grew. I knew I wasn't prepared for my lesson, I hadn't practiced very much the week before. For a little girl who desired to be perfect I didn't seem to grasp the "practice makes perfect" mantra preached by mother each week, at least not when it came to piano lessons. The Dozen A Day book didn't get more than a dozen a week and Mrs. Bennett's scowl and red pencil dates strewn across the top of the page indicated the unpleasant task of repeating the previous weeks' assignments and my little heart registered "still not good enough". Oh, how I desired to play beautiful music on the piano. I just made too many mistakes. I couldn't play perfectly the first time, it felt impossible to my 4th grade self and so I gave up trying. I gave up piano. It never seemed good enough and it was definitely never going to be perfect.
As I read The Nesting Place 40 years later, along with the author's tag line "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful", something began a shift in my thinking. For the very first time, it seemed another woman was pulling for me. She was suggesting a new way. I didn't immediately love it, although I wanted to. It wasn't familiar to me, it was a strange and different concept, other worldly even. No other women that I knew had ever lived out to me that something less than perfect could be good and acceptable, let alone beautiful. But that truth dumped buckets of refreshing cool water on every dry and thirsty place in my middle-aged, weary soul.
And so I pick up my writing practice again after long months of procrastination and attempt what I wrongly perceive others can accomplish effortlessly. The good work of practice, continuing on, making mistakes, learning as I go. What a lovely thing. My heart still desires perfect, as it was made to by my Father, but the permission I give myself to try, knowing Jesus was perfect so I don't have to be, is a beautiful way to live.