Sunday, March 7, 2010

Keeping Time

I remember years ago crouching down beside the Magnavox console stereo in my living room, tracing my fingers along the gold and black diamond shapes on the grill cloth that covered its speakers, while listening to Ravel's Bolero. Our living room window looked west toward the turnpike, and the sunset over the Pennsylvania hills cast a warm glow and long shadows that fell across my knees as I listened to the steady, repetitious rhythm of that classic piece.

This was the scene in my mind as Bolero played on the radio tonight while I drove Olivia and her friends home from church. They thought the piece was weird--and, at 15 minutes, too long. So of course I turned it up, and conducted with one hand, while steering with the other. It occurred to me that conducting while driving might be a primary offense. I'm sure for Olivia it was.

The composer of Bolero, Maurice Ravel, is thought to have been in declining mental health when he wrote it in 1928--maybe suffering from some sort of dementia that would cause him to write something so monotonous and repetitious. I'm sure this says something about me, that I think it's a great composition. (Coincidentally, he actually did suffer a brain injury in a automobile accident four years after writing it, and then died following exploratory brain surgery five years after that.)

Anyway, I was thinking that like Bolero, repetition is a theme in my life...fixing Annie's medicine, dispensing her medicine, changing her pullups, preparing her feedings--the same stuff over and over, each day looking much like the one before, each prayer for her sounding like the last one.

But just as the music is slowly passed between each instrument, and then crescendos at the end with the whole orchestra playing, Annie is slowly regaining the use of her body--one arm, then scooting around the room, then blowing kisses, then taking more tastes of food...and someday, her whole little orchestra will play together--loudly and perfectly in tune.

It may seem like it's repetitious, and taking a long time, but it will happen.

Jean

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. Psalm 37:4-5

8 comments:

aunt rebecca said...

and just as Bolero's repetition is a construction of beauty, so is Annie's daily routine a construction of beauty.

Art is Life.

Life is Art.

Jean said...

I just want to know who Art is??

;-)

PS. I was thinking that repetition is good in landscape design, too.

Gretchen said...

I'll leave you and Rebecca to the art and landscape discussions. :) But...I loved this, Jean. And I love "our" Annie. One of my children could not take guitar lessons from just anyone, nor feel comfortable in just any environment. I feel so blessed that at least for one hour a week, nothing he does will surprise anyone. And if I am able to be the tiniest support to you, I'm thankful.

Jean said...

You are a great support to me--you dental hygienist/speech/feeding/therapist! And, really, I can't think of anything anyone has done at our house that hasn't already been done or attempted by one of the Sullivan kids. Okay, or Bill or me. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Praying for God's perfect symphony to be played through Annie. AND, praying that your hand continues to pen such incredible, touching, and wise passages. As I've said before, God is doing a GREAT work through you Jean. The lessons I've learned and the perspectives I've garnered on many things is due to your gifted way of telling a 'life lesson.'

Thank YOU Jean for the gifts you give us all through this journey.

Tanya

Jean said...

Thanks, Tanya--you're a faithful traveling companion!

naomi said...

Jean, you and Annie were on my mind this morning. Just wanted to let you know that I'm lifting you both up in prayer today. Your faithfulness paints a beautiful picture of Christ to me. ~naomi

Hua said...

Hey Jean,

That was such an awesome metaphor. I'm sure Annie's orchestra will make beautiful music.

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