May, 2022 – Let’s Practice!

May, 2022 – Let’s Practice!

Since the trajectory of Love From Above Ministries changed from doing concerts in churches and other venues, I have had relatively little-to-no involvement with music.  I couldn’t ever have imagined not being able to sing.  I worked hard learning all the skills during my college years to develop a two and a half octave range and do it well.  In spite of my ‘a bit too larger-size’, I can remember having said a few times to different folks that ‘I would rather sing than eat’!   I chuckled after saying the statement, but it was true.

And then, since I have not been church pianist for the past several years, I rarely play any longer.  I really don’t have the opportunity being in Eastern Europe with the ministry, but on the occasion I am asked to play a ‘special’ two or three times a year, I begin to practice – a lot.  Not only has the music become less familiar to me, but the muscles in my fingers, wrists, arms and shoulders have relaxed to the point of being lazy, and having atrophied somewhat.

When a lady in my church asked me recently after I’d played a ‘special’ for Easter Sunday morning if I practiced ‘all the time’, thankfully, someone entered the room where we were, and the attention was taken away from the question – resulting in my not having to give a fairly long answer.

Ignacy Jan Paderewski, the third prime minister of Poland (from January,1919 to November, 1919), was, also, a pianist and composer.  Concerning his piano performance, he said, “If I miss one day of practice, I notice it.  If I miss two days, the critics notice it.  If I miss three days, the audience notices it.”  So very true.  From the age of seven I practiced my piano lessons ever so diligently every day.  Never with perfection, but truly as close to it as I could ever get.  Then, in college having majored in piano my first year, I was required to practice four hours a day.

How I notice the difference from those days and also when I was church pianist – and the times I have played for the past fifteen years or so.  Thankfully, I don’t have to play for critics, but as a trained musician, it is so noticeable to me that I feel like everyone else does notice it – that, “She didn’t practice!!”

I’ve often applied Paderewski’s quote to my spiritual life.  If I miss one day having not ‘been in the Word’, I notice it.  If I spend two days going without time in the Word, I honestly feel like everyone notices it.  If I go any longer than that, I feel as if it is written all over my face that ‘Dawn Mattera has not been in the Word’ – that people can actually see that.  Of course they can’t.  But they can ‘see’ what my behavior is like not spending time with Jesus in His Word.  They can ‘see’ what proceeds from me – from my personality – how my demeanor can change.  It’s true.  I’ve seen it in myself.  I’ve seen it in others.  I don’t judge.  I have difficult time enough to discipline my own life, but one can almost tell from a person whether he/she has only seen or read Scripture on Sundays or if they ‘practice’ every day on a spiritual level by spending time in God’s Word.

His Word is cleansing, refreshing, healing, informative.  It is an opportunity to spend time alone with our Lord, daily.  It is a time to hear Him say just to you (us), “I love you”.  I interpret Psalm 18.19 NASB – “He also brought me into an open place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.”  – or in the Message – “He stood me up on a wide-open field;  I stood there saved – surprised to be loved!” – as, ‘He’s crazy about me (us)’!!  How wonderful to be told daily, that we are loved/cherished by our Father, our Heavenly Father – our Creator.  Don’t miss even one day’s ‘practice’ . . .

“We can almost tell what our relationship with Christ is when we examine what our relationship with the Scripture is.”   – D. Jeremiah