Thursday, May 24, 2012

In Over My Head!

Playing Chopsticks in Uganda

It's not a new sensation.  I've had it so many times before, but it never gets easier.  Have you ever had it?  The feeling that you are in way over your head?  If that means under water than it is no wonder it never gets easier.  Drowning sounds pretty terminal.  But, yeah, that pretty well captures it.

It wouldn't really make it any easier if I was back in the comfortable and convenient confines of America.  There just seems to be more of it here.  So many expectations.  So many relationships.  So many responsibilities.  So many circumstances where I just don't have what I think it takes.

Are you familiar with Chopsticks?  Yesterday I asked one of my good African friends if they were and she replied "I think so. Aren't they two sticks used to eat with?"  Not exactly what I had in mind, since Chopsticks is the name of a tune that must be the easiest to play on the piano by nearly any child able to get near a keyboard.  The trouble with getting older in Christ is the awareness that I am only able to do the equivalent spiritually speaking.  Both in my private relationship with Christ and my public ministry to others.  When I was much, much younger I felt a lot more accomplished.

The story is told about a gifted composer and concert piantiest from Poland named Ignace Paderewski who was scheduled to perform in Philadelphia.  As the audience was arriving, making their way to their seats, and filling the concert hall, a young boy disappeared from his mother and made his way down to the front of the stage.

The concert hall was dimly lite, but the beautiful piano rested in the bright stage spotlights, positioned for the world renowned pianist.  The young boy at the foot of the stage, fascinated by the piano and aware of what it was used for, climbed on stage and up on the piano bench to begin banging out his version of Chopsticks.  Shouts soon followed:
"Who is that boy?"
"Where are his parents?"
:"Get him off the stage and away from that piano!"
Behind the curtains, Paderewski heard the commotion and walked onstage behind the young boy.  He leaned over him and began to play the most beautiful melody around the simple tune the boy was playing.  As he did, Paderewski whispered in the boy's ear:
"Don't stop; keep playing.  Don't quit.  I'll stay right here by your side."
Fortunately, I've heard the voice of Jesus over my shoulder whispering the same thing to me many times during this mission in Uganda.  In the midst of disappointments, discouragements, and the sense of defeat Jesus keeps promising:
"Don't stop; keep playing.  Don't quit.  I'll stay right here by your side."
 I wouldn't be surprised if you don't often have the same need for that whisper of Jesus.  Don't quit.  Keep playing.  Jesus will turn our simple tune of Chopsticks into a beautiful melody.
Let us not get tired of doing what is good.  At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing IF we don't give up.  Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone ... especially to those in the family of faith.  (Galatians 6:9-10)


  1. I found this blog from a link from PistelsPrincesses blog and couldn't resist making a comment, even though I don't know you (as far as I know...LOL). Did you know that they have now made a public announcement (commercial) from this story? I LOVE it! Every time it comes on the TV, I am blessed by it... thanks for sharing the story, I didn't know it was true.

  2. Jon and Vicky, you are the second person to inform me that being 10,000 miles from the United States leaves me out of touch with a LOT of things. I had no idea there was a commercial that revolves around this story! I actually read what I assumed was a genuine story in a devotional written by a former National Football League and Superbowl Champion coach, Tony Dungy. Thanks for the comment.


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