“Never let your studies, never let your work responsibilities, get in the way of your education.” -Paul F. Ford
feel thankful to go to a school where I have been given a well-rounded education. I’ve had the opportunity to learn languages, study literature, learn to write, read the church fathers, study health, explore painting, try theatre, study music, practice public relations, discern my opinions on faith, and everything in-between. I hope to be a lifelong learner, and for me that means continually trying new things. Maybe it’s smarter to do one thing really well, but my craving for exploration and experiment has lead me to try a hundred hobbies and vocations. I’ve been a painter, a poet, an actor, a creative director, a writer, an editor, a graphic designer, a calligrapher, a stationer, and a decorator. I’ve played the oboe, harp, and piano. And my list of things to try goes on and on. I say this not to brag, but to point out my own vocational wanderlust.
And now I’m entering new territory: the organ.
If you had told me three years ago that I would be learning to play the organ, I would have positively laughed in your face. My former roommate has been giving me such a hard time because I used to writhe in my seat in freshman chapels whenever the organ was played, moaning about how it sounded like a funeral procession.
The ironies of life. I do think that the organ can be a horrific instrument depending on how you play it, and it frequently is played that way. But since my freshman year, I have had encounters with the organ in which it was played gracefully. When we chose to have our wedding at St. Peter’s Episcopal, we found out that an organist was part of the package. Their organist is basically a sorcerer; she has her doctorate in organ performance, and having heard her play on St. Peter’s gorgeous organ for all of 15 seconds I was in tears. Her music sends one absolutely heaven-ward. I was elated to have her play regal, God-honoring music at our ceremony, and she worked with a trumpeter who made the whole thing feel, in my wild imagination, at least, like it was Westminster Cathedral (Okay, maybe I had a little Royal Wedding fantasy that played into our nuptial arrangements).
Since becoming devoted to the Anglican tradition, I’ve seen what a beautiful tool for worship the organ can be. I eat my words. I’m in a beginning organ class at Moody this semester, and I’m finding the instrument, though incredibly intimidating (I am used to 47 strings and 7 pedals; this thing has more keys, pedals, knobs, and pipes than one could count), wonderfully tactile and rewarding. Perhaps my organ skills can someday be useful to my church.
So, my fellow wayfarers, here’s to endless education and refusing to be tied to one vocation!