There’s a better Life in another Key

pianoIn the wake of a winter snowstorm approaching, I’m not so terribly concerned about the snow hanging around long due to this being the last day of our yearly long and dark January. I hope everyone remembers that Monday is Groundhog Day and for more the better than worse, we’ll be looking at but a mere six more weeks of my most dis-liked seasons of the year.

I ran into a most talented and proficient gentleman this evening whom I highly regard due to his knowledge as well as his stamina in work. He reminds me of what some of my very old farmer relatives regarded as their best work horses. I remember once my grandfather speaking of his childhood and listening to his father talk about his favorite draft horse. I yet remember him reciting his father’s words that went something like, “Oscar’s been my best gelding. I give him a pale of oats, he follows me out of the barn without a tug, and will till a twenty without the slightest encouragement, and when the wife’s a hollering me home, he’s still wanting to till a twenty more.” Yes, there are those workhorse people in the world who just can’t get enough accomplished in a day. I think they sometimes even wish they could expand time in a subatomic way in which one hour’s work is condensed into a minute where they’ll be actually out looking for more work to accomplish.

I sometimes think there are many who’ve arrived at a point of proficiency where they’ve said to themselves, “Is this all there is?”, and they become slightly embittered and resign themselves to the idea that their lives here on earth are as good as it gets and continue on with their levels of learning and honed abilities. And then there are those few who’ve reached those same levels of highly regarded abilities and simply dismiss the idea that they’ve reached the height of their abilities. From that point, they veer off and take the direction of becoming passionate about their work. As I said to a hopefully in the near further client today, “Anyone can train a clever monkey to perform a task that can make money, but those tasks lack the oft times soul-awakening nuances of artistic ability.” There really is an “art” to living a full life.

My dear mother who’ve many considered over the years a bit dismissive as well as condescending, has nearly always challenged my siblings, as well as those around her to do not simply their best, but their more. I’ll never forget a time when one of my sisters was practicing an instrument and my mother calling after her saying, “It sounds good, but I can’t feel the best from you.” So much for parental patronizing of today’s children.

If the parents know in their core that their children have failed, they simply create an excuse for them and all becomes well. “Not well.” I say. If family members cannot express not only praise, but disappointment with their youth, then who do those children have left to believe? As Ludwig von Beethoven said, “Nothing is more intolerable than to have to admit to yourself your own errors.” But there is always that upward-lifting counter-balance saying of his that I like best, “Don’t practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise humanity to the Divine.” These are the words of a proficient man who moved on to become passionate. I know now why Beethoven’s likely my favorite composer.

Joe Chodur

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