The Pied Piper?


Well, I’m sitting here playing Bejeweled and trying to think of something witty to write about, as I see I am ever so quickly sliding down the slippery slope of blog delinquency once again. 

Darn you, Facebook!  *shakes fists*

I had a “moment” last week.  You know, one of those times where you re-learn something you already know.  Maybe you’ve never had that experience.  If you haven’t, I’d say it’s probably because you are a lot smarter than me…or maybe you just don’t give a hoot.  Regardless, I find that I need a lot of repetition to “get” something.  Or at least, I need a lot of reminders. 

Last Tuesday evening Emma and I went over to her new middle school for band registration for next year.  Emma has watched her big brother play French Horn for the last 4 years and has been not-so-patiently waiting for HER turn to play a band instrument.  Her time has arrived.  She has been saying for a long time that she is going to play the trumpet—which I thought was pretty cool. 

The point of the band registration night was for the band teacher to demonstrate each instrument and then test each child’s ability with said instruments to see how well suited they are…oh, AND to get these kids all jacked up about being in band! Woohoo! 

Emma wrote down her top 3 to try: 1)trumpet 2)baritone 3)trombone.  When her turn came to try the instruments, she was able to get sound out of all three, but had the least success with the trumpet.  She could hit the lower registers, but not the higher ones.  She got some very nice sound from the baritone and the trombone, so they were possibilities, but I could read Band Lady’s face…she was thinking Em might should branch out of the brass family and venture into another land, say, perhaps, woodwind.


Now, in MY mind, I’m thinking, (no offense to any of you professional clarinetists out there) PLEASE not the clarinet…those things sound excruciating when someone is learning them.  And with the noise sensory issues in our home, I was thinking, chronic major meltdowns!  Band Lady kindly asked Emma if there were any other instruments she would like to try.  Emma gave her patented shrug and looked at me.  I said, “Well, we’re here…now’s the time to try them all.  Just for fun, why not?”  I suggested she blow some air over the flute.  She agreed.  (I hope she continues to take her mama’s advice. Ha!)  Band Lady put that flute up to Emma’s lips and I must tell you that something magical happened.  The loveliest and most effortless sound came out and I think we were all surprised.  Band Lady’s wide-eyed excited response—“Wow, girl!” 

Once Em finished trying the instruments, we were asked to go discuss which one she thought she’d like to play.  Band lady’s list of most promising instruments for Emma were flute, then baritone and then trombone.  As we stepped outside to talk about it, I asked Emma, “Are you disappointed?” 

Emma: Not really.

Me:  It wasn’t what you expected was it. 

Emma: No.

Me:  Getting notes out of the trumpet was harder than you thought, wasn’t it.  Did the flute feel more natural to you?

Emma: Yes, it did!

Me:  You were surprised when you got that kind of sound out of the flute, weren’t you? <pause> (I could tell she was thinking)  What do you think about playing the flute?

Emma: Mooom, EVERYBODY plays the flute.  I wanted to do something different.  But it was the easiest. 

(In my mind, I’m thinking yes, EVERYBODY plays the flute, but EVERYBODY also plays the trumpet…take a look at the band next time…lots of flutes, trumpets, and yes, clarinets.)

We talked it over some more.  She asked me what I would do.  I told her it was her decision, that if she really would rather play baritone or trombone, she certainly could.  I was sure with practice she’d be great at any of them, honestly.  (The girl does not like making decisions…wonder where she gets that from.)

I had to chuckle to myself about how funny we are.  We, in our humanity, make our plan and then set out to put it in motion.  Often, we will close our eyes to anything other than our way.  “I am going to play the trumpet!” we proclaim. I imagine God, in His sovereignty, smiling and saying, “Wait, I’ve got something better, something that will fit you just perfectly. Just listen to that magical sound that comes from that flute when you blow! You didn’t expect THAT did you??”  She had her heart so set on being a trumpet player that she hadn’t even considered the possibility of something else.  It was all a little too familiar.

This won’t come as a shock to you, but things don’t always turn out like we plan—which is not necessarily a bad thing.  It is God’s plan—instead of your own—working its way into your life.  And it is always for the better.  We just have to allow for that possibility.  More trust and less rushing in head first with our own determined will leading us.

Emma went back in and told Band Lady that she wanted to play the flute.  (Her decision, really.)  Turns out that there are only 2 other students besides Emma planning to play flute next year. 

We got in the car to go home and she said, “Mom, I’m so excited!  I’m going to be a flute player!”

I had to laugh…and I had to laugh at myself.  We’ve all heard the saying, “If you want to make God laugh, just go ahead and tell Him your plans.”  Of course I *know* this…this “things don’t usually go how you plan”. How many times have I told God what I was or wasn’t going to do?  Rushed headlong into something with “my plan” and then either had to eat my words or clean up the big mess I had made! 

I don’t think our moment was so much about what instrument Emma would play, but more about both of us hearing God say, “See?  Trust My plan…there IS one, you know!”

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”



Filed under Lessons

2 responses to “The Pied Piper?

  1. Unknown

    Sounds like Em is just like her mother. I think that\’s a VERY good thing! 🙂 And hey, in defense of the clarinetists– you could do what my granddaddy did– send the intrumentalists out into the woods to practice. 🙂

  2. Toni

    Such a sweet entry! She\’ll like the flute–Cheyenne is a flute player, mainly since my sister had sent Cheyenne her old flute and I was ridiculously unbending when her teacher insisted she play the clarinet. "She did not test well at all on the flute," the teacher kept saying to me. 3 years later, she\’s won awards, she\’s been in the Oklahoma State honor band for flute playing…and it\’s all been free! You\’re right–God has plans for us all…and sometimes it involves playing the flute beautifully.And ps–Jacob\’s played the french horn for the past 4 years? He must be amazing! I played in in the 7th grade and couldn\’t get a sound out of it until the end of the last semester! Go your kids!

I always love hearing from you! :-)

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