My Maestro & My Metronome

I am completely tone deaf. All self-deprecation aside, I really am. In fifth grade, my cheeks were the color of a pomegranate during our flutophone concert, keeping me from sinking into my desired invisibility as I moved my fingers from hole to hole pretending to play some butchered Christmas song. I got away with it. No one knew that I still couldn’t read the notes without reciting, “Every Good Boy Deserves something.” See, I still cannot remember; musically inept I remain.

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Things have not changed around here. Even though I married a man who is musically gifted, it seems I have passed on my musical prowess to some, if not all, of my children. Unless rhythm develops over time or explodes at puberty, it looks like we won’t be the Von Traps. But this week, in his predictably unpredictable way, the Lord chose two musical images to refresh and restore my soul.

We live in a frenetic world and frenetic souls live in us. Our culture is so far removed the earth’s natural rhythms and cycles. Fall means nothing more than cute scarves and Pumpkin Spice Lattes and cute kid’s Halloween costumes. Most of us have no natural connection to the planting cycles or the tides or the lunar calendar or the liturgical calendar, things which for centuries have grounded humanity and provided rhythm and cadence to life. For most of us in America, holidays and the marketplace determine our seasons as we navigate through the panoply of seasonal candies and products set up around us 3 months in advance. Sure, it is built completely around consumerism and materialism, but at least it provides rhythm. So we buy in, I buy in, hook, line and sinker, desperate for something to provide the cadence, the regularity we long for.

But our souls are made for so much more. This isn’t the rhythm we were intended for, and in moments of clarity, I find myself longing to have someone else, something else set the pace for my own heart, my own life, my own home, even if everything all around me is tuned into the market cycles. Even though I know better, I find myself getting pressed into, pulled into, falling into rhythm with the things that are so paper thin I can see right through them.

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This Sunday was picture day for soccer. If you haven’t experienced this, you should prop yourself in a tree and observe this phenomenon like Jane Goodall observed the monkeys. You would be in for a treat. Hundreds of parents and kids descending upon a middle school sports field, little colored troops waiting in lines, cranky, hot parents trying to wake themselves up with coffee. It is quite a scene. So there I was, blending right in and falling right into the rhythms marked out for me by the soccer calendar. Phin was crying and tired because we had to miss his nap. I was trying to figure out how we would get to church on time, do a costume change out of the cleats and shin guards and then be back at the fields right after church to do it all over again for Ty’s picture. We walked into church, cranky, sweaty, and far from peaceful and ready to worship. But this is just what we do, right? Isn’t this what I am supposed to do?

While sitting in church, trying to collect myself and my discordant heart, the Lord brought an image and a phrase to me that slowly restored peace and calmness and deeper purpose. “Aimee, I am your metronome.”  I set your rhythm, I set the cadence. Even if everyone around you is frenetic, getting pulled into the pace that society sets, you don’t have to be. You don’t have to run like a crazy lady to soccer pictures to be sure that your kids’ face can be a on a button so they will be confident that they are loved and seen. You know a deeper love, you can teach them that deeper confidence that comes from my ways, my rhythm. But they can’t know that if you don’t fall in line with me. You need to be still long enough to hear the steady ticks of my metronome. Fall in line with me. This is the pace you were made for. Believe me, I know, I created this universe and all of humanity. I know what is best.

Dallas Willard, in my favorite book, The Divine Conspiracy, writes about this very thing.

“All of these these things {speaking of the intricacy of molecular science} show Jesus’ cognitive and practical mastery of every phase of reality: physical, moral and spiritual. He is Master only because He is Maestro. ‘Jesus is Lord’ can mean little in practice for anyone who has to hesitate before saying, ‘Jesus is smart.’ He is not just nice, he is brilliant. He is the smartest man who ever lived. He is now supervising the entire course of world history while simultaneously preparing the rest of the universe for our future role in it. He always has the best information on everything and certainly also on the the things that matter most in human life.

God alone is both maestro and metronome. We won’t live life as it is meant to be lived if anyone else or anything else directs and sets our pace. Needless to say, we skipped Ty’s soccer picture.

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