Waiting, Waiting, Waiting

December 17th, 2011
Image © by aileron | Flickr | Used under Creative Commons license.

The 1999 movie “The Music of My Heart” tells the true story of Roberta Guaspari, a music teacher in Harlem who fights to keep her popular violin program for underprivileged students from the school system’s chopping block.

One of Roberta’s many demands of her violin students is that they stand tall and strong as they play. She must heed her own instructions as she considers giving up the seemingly futile struggle to keep the program alive. In one particularly poignant scene, a student who wears a constrictive brace on her leg tells Roberta she wants to quit because she cannot stand tall.

Standing tall, Roberta explains to her, involves more than standing on our legs. It can also mean standing tall in our hearts.

As she prepares the students for one of the pieces they will play at a concert, she stresses the importance of holding a particular note. The audience will want you to play the next note, she tells them, but you must wait, and wait, and wait for it. Surely enough, during their concert performance, the audience seems to hold its collective breath as the students hold and hold and hold onto that note. Waiting, waiting, waiting, parents and friends sit rigidly, the anticipation building. Finally, the young musicians play the next note, and the audience sighs in relief.

Waiting is sometimes precisely the right thing to do. Well-timed waiting often yields results that far exceed our expectations.

Standing tall and strong, even in the midst of great challenges. Waiting and waiting and waiting before we are allowed to take the next step. Both are familiar movements for people of faith. Yet how difficult each is to practice when the song in our heart grows faint and we struggle to feel the beat and remember the melody.

As heirs of God’s promise and as recipients of God’s gift of Jesus, we rekindle the song God has placed in our hearts and join Mary in her song of praise: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46-47).

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