From Little Things Come Big Things

Friday, November 15, 2013

Putting the Puzzle Pieces Together

Disclaimer: This is going to be a long post.  It's also a repeat from the private blog.

I love to write music. I feel that I have been blessed with a gift to create music since I was a little girl.  I remember my dad saying to me, "You must have worked really hard before this life to have these gifts now!"  I guess that's why I'm okay realizing and admitting that I'm good at it... because it truly is a GIFT.  It has not come through years of studying chord progressions and the intricacies of music theory.  It just sort of comes to me.  Or through me.  Or something.  I sit at the piano, and things come out... not without difficulty, at times, but I've never ever felt that the music I compose is actually mine.  I sort of feel like I'm just an instrument in getting the music here.

  

This picture means so much to me.  It portrays things that are sacred and beautiful and personal to me.  Two nights ago, I finished an arrangement of "Lead, Kindly Light".  It was by far the most difficult arrangement I have ever done.  It all started about a year ago when I was just playing around on the piano, and then the eight measure theme that reappears throughout the song just sort of came out.  It was simple, yet unique. But once I had that much done, I was stuck.  No more music for a few months.  I didn't even know which hymn it was going to be... or if it would even be a hymn arrangement at all.  So, I kept playing those same eight measures every time I sat at the piano, hoping for more to come to me, but it didn't.  

Then a few months later, I randomly decided to sing the beginning of one of my favorite hymns with the music, and... it worked perfectly.  I was able to come up with a few more measures that day... and so it has been since then.  A few weeks/months of nothing, and then a little bit more.  Then nothing, then a little more.  It has been utterly frustrating at times, as I have wanted to finish it but been so stuck.  Friday night, I spent three hours trying to write three measures, and it just was not working!  Finally, I had to just walk away from it and leave it alone for a bit.  The next day, I came back to the piano with complete clarity and had a breakthrough.  When I finally finished, I sang it through and was grateful for the whole experience, as difficult as it was at times.

Isn't it fitting that the very message that song teaches of is the lesson I was taught in the process of writing it?
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see the distant scene - one step enough for me.
One step is enough for me.  Not the whole story.  Not even most of the story.  Just one little step.
A few measures at a time.

It reminds me of an experience I may have shared before.
A couple of years ago, when I was portraying the role of Mary in Savior of the World, we were rehearsing a scene where Mary and Joseph are looking for lodging.  It's a short little scene, but an important one, and I was having a difficult feeling portraying the right feeling for the scene.  We did it over and over again, trying to implement our directors' suggestions, when our main director said, "Katie, you're doing this scene like you know the end of the story.  And you DO know the end of the story.  You know it all works out.  But Mary didn't.  She was in the middle of the story, and though she had a foundation of incredibly strong faith, she still had no idea through this entire process how it would work out.  She didn't know if Joseph would be done and leave her to be stoned.  She didn't know if she was going to have to deliver her baby in the public streets of Bethlehem.  She only knew how to take it one step at a time, with faith as her anchor."



How many times do we get stuck in the middle of the story, freaking out about the end?  And yet, when we look back at life, it all works out.  I think of all the "middles" in my life when everything seemed to be falling apart right before my eyes - all those times when my plan was ruined.  And it just didn't make any sense at all.  But now, some of it does.  Not all of it, but some of it.  And someday, all of it will.

In church on Sunday, a girl said this in her testimony:
"Eventually, we're going to look back at our lives and it will be this complicated, intricate puzzle that is finally put together."

I LOVE THAT.  I have been thinking about it ever since and want to continue the analogy a bit.



When I put together a puzzle, I start with the outside border.  It gives me a framework - the BIG picture.
To me, the plan of salvation is the big picture.  I know where I came from, I know who I am, and I know where I want to end up.  The "getting there" part is the middle part of the puzzle.

I get going on one section and all the pieces quickly fall into place and a portion of the puzzle is completed..
I love those times in life when things just WORK and life is simple.

But sometimes, I reach a dead end and spend a long time looking for just one piece.
There are times when I know something needs to change and life needs to take a different direction, but don't know quite how or what needs to change.  So... I search it out.

Other times I find a random piece and have no idea where it will go.  But I know it goes somewhere.
I get promptings to follow a certain path that has absolutely nothing to do with anything and seemingly leads to nowhere... BUT I know I need to do it.  Included in this are trials I really just don't want go through...but they always make sense later, whether I'm able to help someone going through the same thing, or learn a lesson that I needed to learn before having other awesome things happen.

Once in a while I find a piece that LOOKS like it should fit and even FEELS like it should fit, but just barely doesn't.  I'll wiggle it and try to force it, but eventually I have to give up and go work on a different part of the puzzle.
If I had a nickel for every time something/someone/somewhere made sense on paper, but just didn't fit... or for whatever reason, was not the right thing.  I wanted to go to BYU, but didn't.  Wanted to marry three different guys, but didn't.  Wanted to be an elementary school teacher, and but didn't.  I tried to force all these things at one time or another, but ultimately gave up my control and just let them go.

Eventually, that piece I thought would fit somewhere ends up fitting somewhere else better.
The most important things in life find their way of working out, in the right time, and in the right way.  I went to USU and loved it.  I found a job I love far more than I would enjoy teaching. 

My puzzle isn't finished yet, but someday it will be.  The two most important things I've learned from my life's experiences are 1) God's plan is better than mine, and 2) One step at a time.  One piece of my life revealed at a time, one small step of progression each day.  It all works out.

3 comments:

cactusinbloom said...

Thank you seester! Beautifully written and many things I needed to hear tonight.

Whitney Worthen said...

Katie, I heard about your Deseret News piece (which I read and loved and think is pretty spot on), and then I found the link to this. I wanted to thank you for articulating something that I've been feeling so deeply lately, but couldn't quite put into words. I know that the Father has a plan, even an individual plan, for me, but sometimes I get so frustrated when I want to see the beginning from the end. But it turns out that that's not part of His plan. So I have to let Him humble me so that I allow the experience to bring me closer to Him through faith instead of falling into the temptation of being puffed up and distancing myself from Him because of pride (which shouldn't be, but can be, a hard thing to do).

I also want to tell you that you have a gift for putting important lessons we need to learn in our life in an eloquent, yet accessible, way. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You are wonderful and I'm grateful that I have the privilege to know you.

Roger Pack said...

Nice! Do you publish your sheet music anywhere? I'd love to link to your pieces from my site.

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