Saturday, April 23, 2016

Desperation can sometimes breed/bring Inspiration!

We were living in San Antonio, Texas in the early 1980's where I served as Education Counselor in the Stake Relief Society. I desperately needed a special musical number that enhanced our theme of Excellence for Stake Leadership meeting I'd been planning for weeks. There simply wasn't anything to be found that sent the message I so desperately wanted to present in a way that music can only do.

My husband needed something from Austin, up Interstate 35 about an hour. I had been praying fervently, pleading for inspiration, and I really didn't need to take these precious hours for a trip up and and back when I needed to be working on the meeting. But I went, praying all the way. Suddenly the words began coming into my mind - with a melody to go with them.

I grabbed a piece of paper and pen from my purse and scribbled frantically while I drove. I repeated them over and over and the melody just flowed. By time I returned home, I was able to go to the piano and write down the notes. But then, I am not a composer and the accompaniment was another matter.

To add to the problem, I needed an interlude between the pleading tone of the first part and the answer that came to the pleading that was a totally different tone and key. Yes, I even changed the key signature. I am a simple pianist - I never had training in all the wonderful parts of music and how they work. I simply took piano lessons as a child and then never quit practicing so I didn't lose my knowledge of how to play - I just never progressed beyond being able to play the hymns and some simple accompaniments.

This was total inspiration - revelation that came in answer to my need to serve and meet the needs of my sisters. But the heavenly help didn't stop there. A seminary and institute teacher in our ward was well versed in music and I asked him to write the interlude. He did. Then I asked another sweet member of our ward with an amazing voice to sing it and another talented sister to play for her since I was conducting the meeting.

To hear that heaven-inspired message in that meeting was something I'll never forget. It was the perfect channel through which the Holy Ghost could touch hearts and embed the message of the meeting. I know God hears and answers prayers in sometimes very unexpected ways. He can work miracles through the weakest and simplest of us when we are on His errand. The song was never performed again and I even had to dig through stacks of music to find it to be able to share the words.


Where am I going? Why am I here?
Please won't you make all the answers more clear?
How can I be all you know I can be?
Help me, dear Father, Please help me so see.

When my world is so frantic -
When my calendar's full;
When everyone needs me
All I feel is the pull!

When there's no time for learning;
When there's no time for me
How can I be all you need me to be?

Take one step, Stretch yourself, Reach up high!
Set a goal, struggle hard, reach the sky!
Excellence! If you strive for Excellence,
A Celestial Excellence is what you'll find!

Thank you, dear Father, Now I can do
All of the things that you need me to do!
Now I can be all you know I can be!
One little word - Excellence is the key!

Thank you, Cheri, for your last post that reminded me of this totally forgotten little faith-promoting episode from decades ago. I may dust it off and give it to my talented daughter and granddaughters to perform just for me.

On a related note, because I kept practicing the hymns and never gave up playing when called upon to help with music, I was asked to be the ward organist. You've got to be kidding, I said! I was barely a qualified Relief Society pianist, hiding behind the piano so no one could see my red face when I made mistakes. I was too shocked to say no to the calling. I kept stuttering "But I'm not an organist! I don't know how to play the organ!"

Amazingly, many do not seem to know there is a world of difference between playing an organ and playing a piano. The bishop promised as I was obedient and accepted the calling, the blessings of learning to play would come. And they did. I've been ward organist for nearly 20 years - still just barely getting through the hymns each Sunday and agonizing over making mistakes that will jar the congregation from their worship, but the blessings have come. Including keeping my arthritic fingers from freezing and stopping working altogether. Obedience and prayer - and desperation definitely bring heavenly blessings.


Cheri J. Crane said...

What a beautiful song and experience, further proof that our Father in heaven is always listening. ;) So glad you shared this memory.

Jennie said...

A sweet experience. Isn't it wonderful how answers to prayers come at odd and unexpected times.