Monday, February 23, 2009

The Summer I'll Never Forget

I wrote this autobiographical essay for my English Comp. 1 class I'm taking this semester. I decided I would post it on here just for fun. I was happy to get a pretty good grade on it.

The Summer I'll Never Forget
"It's not who you knew and it's not what you did, it's how you live."

I am a musician. More specifically, I play the piano and flute, both of
which require extensive hand and finger work. At the time that this incident occurred, I was sixteen and had a combined total of twelve years' study in piano and flute. I had just concluded a week-long piano camp and was hyped up for lots of practicing for the rest of the summer. This soon changed. Who would have thought a friendly tussle with two siblings would turn my summer upside down?

We were playing around and somehow, in the process, my right-hand thumb was bent backwards. Yes, it hurt, but I didn't think too much about it since this had happened before and quickly healed the following day. But after a couple of weeks the considerable pain in my thumb had spread to my entire hand. I am right-handed, so up to this point I had continued using my hands in every usual way (handwriting, typing, piano and flute practice, etc.). Unfortunately, this only served to delay the healing process. I decided to wear a wrist brace for a while, taking it off only to practice piano and write, and see if that would help. I can't stand anything that restricts my body movement, so the brace quickly became an annoyance and I rarely wore it. The pain moved to my wrist, and it became difficult to play the piano or to write for even a few minutes.

"Don't run from the truth, 'cause you can't get away. Just face it and you'll be okay."

I finally decided to see a chiropractor and find out exactly what was wrong with my hand. When the doctor gave me my verdict, all I could do was sit there and shake my head, wondering why I had been handed this sentence. As it turned out, during the friendly wrestling, my whole hand had been pushed back on my wrist and arm, seriously spraining my wrist. This is one of the nightmares of any musician, but especially so of a pianist. I was told by my teacher that practicing was out of the question. Lessons were stopped, and I had to wear the brace at all times. Double sentence! I was doomed to inactivity. Here is this unfeeling, restrictive article and it has the nerve to keep me from doing what I want to do! Irrational thoughts began to contend with my usually even-keeled nature. "What if I can't perform in the music festival?" and "What if I have to stop playing for years?" and "I'll never be able to have my senior recital!" I wanted to scream and hit something, but that was out of the question. No use further injuring myself. Outwardly, I was the calm and in-control Miriam, but inside I was seething.

As a month went by and the wrist brace was still my constant companion, I started to show my impatience. I tried to wait out the dry spell, but it stretched out and started to become a drought. Imagine being a writer and all of the sudden, there is no inspiration, nothing to draw ideas from, nothing whatsoever. That's what I was feeling as I would walk past my beloved instrument. Mentally, my hands would reach out and I would play in my mind, but it wasn't the same at all. I would walk away feeling empty and unsatisfied.

"Make peace with God and make peace with yourself, 'cause in the end there's nobody else."

After what seemed like months of this torture, I was told I could take off the hated brace and resume practicing at a slow pace. I was ecstatic. I walked to my piano and I sat on the bench. I reached out my arms and ran my hands over the glossy keys. And then...I began to play. The music poured over me, refreshing and reviving me after a two-month long drought. I just couldn't get enough.

They say a picture's worth a thousand words, but if that's true, then a line of music is worth two thousand. In those moments, I realized that this was what I wanted to use my life for; I wanted to use my music to help others, especially through their hard times. As I played, I wondered why I had ever despaired. God has a reason and purpose for the events that happen in our lives. He always does. The difficult times can shape our future and how we respond to these "trials" can determine how we will live for God.

I learned many lessons during that summer that I pray will never be forgotten. I thank God more than ever for the music He has put in my soul and may I always use it to praise Him.

"Turn up the music, turn it up loud. Take a few chances, let it all out. You won't regret it, looking back from where you have been. 'Cause it's not who you knew, and it's not what you did, it's how you live.

The song quoted in-between paragraphs is How You Live by Point of Grace.


Clare Marie-Therese Duroc said...

Ouch! I sprained my left wrist once... it was awful. The sprain doesn't really hurt, of course, but the wrist is a bad spot for a musician. No violin, no piano, no guitar... it's hard, hard, hard to get through that.

Anna Naomi said...

Beautiful, Miriam! You wrote this really well!

I remember how hard it was for you. Time spent resting from what you love is always tough. But, it's always amazing to look back and see how God worked and taught lessons through it all!

Elijah Lofgren said...

Great writing!!! Music is definitely encouraging! I enjoy hearing you play!

I also enjoy

Anonymous said...

I must confess that I have been blessed; no serious injuries have come my way. Fun to read your paper. :D

Anonymous said...

dear miriam, your essay touched a chord with me. I also was forced to stop what i love from a wrist problem. I had a cist in my right wrist and our family moved so I had sit tennis out for over a year. that was really tough for me, and I even cried about it. but God is good, we eventually found a the right doctor and i had surgery. Today i am playing tennis again - on the college level!
I am no musician, (artist-so i fall into the picture is a thousand words category : D), but i can testify that there is nothing like music to touch the soul. what a wonderful calling! I loved meeting you; i think you are a beautiful person. -mary khris