April 23rd, 2019

walk with God, pasture, Psalm 23

Sketching Practice

I have a memory from second grade. I was sitting in the classroom, which was a mobile home (because they were doing construction on the school building at the time). I was the only one in the room and I was drawing something. I drew with strong pencil marks - I pressed so hard that I kept breaking off the tip of the pencil. And when I drew the line wrong and tried to erase it, it was pressed so deep into the paper that it left an impression even after the line was erased. Someone saw me and asked why I didn't try sketching. If I sketched it first and then needed to erase a line, it wouldn't leave a mark. Huh? The concept of sketching was a new to me. I did try it, but I still have a tendency to go for the final lines right from the start. Plus, all those steps of sketching, drawing, erasing, inking, erasing take so long...

Another elementary school memory - music lessons. I took piano and viola lessons. I never wanted to practice, though. I didn't like practice. I though I could just play it perfectly the first time because that's how it worked. Practice never sounded right and it was uncomfortable. I tried to avoid practicing - and so I struggled in music. Like sketching, I didn't get it. I thought I'd just be perfect the first time. And when I wasn't, I wanted to drop it and quit.

This past year, I've been trying to acknowledge the value of "practice." I'm trying to see it as a help rather than a hinderance. Sure, it's awkward when I try something and mess it up. And it's annoying when it takes time before I can do something accurately. But it's called practice and it takes time. Some things I can do well the first time I pick them up; but most things do take time and practice before I get good at them.

It takes a lot of courage to be with myself in the midst of the discomfort, in the midst of the awkward, bad-sounding practice sessions of life. But that's ok. It's the learning process. As long as I'm taking steps and trying, then I'm experiencing new things and growing. Eventually, maybe, some things won't feel as uncomfortable. I'm sure some things will always feel awkward. But I'm trying to lighten my grip and allow myself to make mistakes. To be able to laugh at myself when it's awkward and still respect myself. I just get back up on my feet, shake off the discomfort, and am grateful for the learning experience that allows me to grow. We aren't born knowing everything. And we learn in different ways - we learn from God's word, we learn from our parents, we learn from teachers, from each other, from study, from observation - and some things we learn by just getting out there and getting messy.