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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Question (05/24/12)

TITLE: A Discordant Decision
By LisaR Rider


Music played an important role in our home. Daddy played the piano and trombone, and Mommy- well, she loved to sing. So there was never any question as to whether or not we would take music lessons; the question was what lessons to take.

I finally decided to take violin lessons. As the school year began, I anticipated bringing home my first violin. At my first lesson, I was given my violin and instructed on how it should be held. Little did I realize the pain that would follow. Holding the violin required strength and coordination that did not come naturally for me. The fact that I was small for my age probably didn’t help.

Yet, I think that my family would agree that the most obvious pain was that which our ears suffered. It sounded terrible! When the piano is played, there is no ambiguity. Assuming that the piano is in tune, you strike the key, and the expected pitch resounds. The violin- at least for me- didn’t quite work like that. It was screechy, and the sound that I anticipated rarely arrived. My perfectionist behavior began long before the fourth grade, and I found myself frustrated every time I picked up the instrument. Thus, I hated to practice. Unbeknownst to me, everyone in our home hated for me to practice.

My parents were not quitters and I learned at a very young age that you don’t just quit when something becomes difficult. So, I did my very best to stick with my violin lessons. I went to lessons each week and faced Mr. Thurkins, who also happened to be the high school football coach. He was a large man and his voice boomed when he spoke. Each week, I would dread sitting in lessons for fear of disappointing my teacher.

After more than a year, I decided that I should be allowed to quit. I stressed for weeks at the thought of asking my parents. I finally decided to run the question by my sister first; maybe she would have some words of wisdom. She said, “Are you kidding? They WANT you to quit!!!”

So, with my new added sense of confidence (which in hindsight was a total putdown), I sat my parents down and asked them if I could quit. They tried to act somewhat disappointed, but I could tell that they were breathing sighs of relief.

The next day, I packed up my violin, headed for school, ready to resign from my violin duties. At the time that lessons were scheduled to start, I boldly told Mr. Thurkins that my parents and I decided that I should quit violin. Surprisingly, he raised his voice. He was not at all happy at our decision. In fact, he told me that I had talent- a good ear- and if I stuck with it, I would become a fine violinist. Well, that was the first I knew of that! And my decision had already been made. I left that day feeling contrary to how I had expected to feel. I had let my teacher down, and it grieved me for some reason.

For years, I have wondered if Mr. Thurkins had been right; could I really have excelled at the violin if I had not quit? Oddly enough, that experience has kept me from making rash decisions on more than one occasion. I never want to face the “what if I had…” question; instead, I sit nearly paralyzed while I wait for clear-cut answers.

However, there are some decisions too big to ignore. We then must seek godly counsel. Proverbs 11:14 tells us that “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” (ESV)

Sometimes God chooses to speak to us through the wisdom that He gives others. And it is our responsibility to seek that wisdom from godly counsel: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly.” (Psalm 1:1, ESV) Godly counsel will not be self-seeking, but will point us to God’s truth.

My violin teacher might have had insight that my parents lacked. In some respects, his words may have demonstrated wisdom, while my parents were motivated by self-preservation! Perhaps the only purpose of my violin experience was to teach me the importance of good decision-making. The funny thing is- as many times as I’ve questioned that decision, I feel certain that no one else in my family ever looked back.

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This article has been read 373 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Marina Rojas05/31/12
Just adored this story...certainly well written and oh, how it brings back memories of the days when "a well rounded young person" should know how to play some sort of musical instrument...even though playing it brought on recall of caterwauling!

LOL! I really enjoyed this piece!
Hiram Claudio05/31/12
This story truly had a charm to it that was very appealing. It flowed very well and was packed with simple, yet deep, wisdom we all need. The connection between your childhood story and thr scriptural point was a solid one and transitioned nicely I thought. Well done!
C D Swanson 05/31/12
A well told tale that many of us can identify with. Except I "loved playing the piano." My dad used to sit alongside me and play with me.

Good job and on topic. NIcely done. God bless~
Leola Ogle 05/31/12
This made me chuckle. I could hear the screech of that violin. Oh my! Well written, good flow and an enjoyable read. Good job! God bless!
Laura Manley06/02/12
What a delightful entry! It covers not only the topic, but it goes beyond that. It talks about life decisions and how that one decision has literally stayed with you all your life. I not only enjoyed this story from the standpoint of the subject matter, but you made it extremely interesting to me. You were able to show the reader rather than just telling this story. I am extremely impressed by your writing!
Laura Hawbaker06/03/12
Very well written. Delightful touch of humor, yet serious thought. Good job!
Genia Gilbert06/04/12
Great and enjoyable tribute to all the "What if?" questions we have. I liked this entry, and chuckled at your honesty and humor.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 06/06/12
This is quite fascinating. I could relate because I'm tone deaf and can't tell one note from another. There is something to be said about perservance though. My oldest tried swimming for years. We joked that she worked hard to come in last place but the truth was she did work hard to come in last. Then the teams were co1ed and her favorite race was 500m (which is 20 lengths of the pool. The guys swam it around 5 minutes but M never swam lest than 7 something. There would be times when she literally would be swimming alone for 2 minutes. You'd expect people to become distracted and chat with a neighbor spectator but they didn't. The pool area would be echoing with cheers for my daughter. People saw that never quit attitude and were more impressed by her than by the fastest natural swimmer. I think that may have been the lesson your teacher was trying to teach you. Never give up and God never gives up on us.
C D Swanson 06/07/12
Congrats! God Bless~
Leola Ogle 06/07/12
Congratulations Lisa on your wonderful entry! God bless!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 06/08/12
Congratulations for your HC and for ranking 24 overall!