Yesterday my 9-year-old daughter, Emma, gave her first piano recital. She was joined by 5 other young pianists – though all of them already had their debuts behind them. 

It was lovely. 

Before we left the house Emma was anxious, teary, and wondering how to get out of even going. Confident she would “mess up” and embarrased and ashamed of that potential in advance, my discussion of positive self-talk and affirmation fell on deaf ears (though I continued anyway). 

When we got to the church it wasn’t long before her instructor made some welcoming comments and then called Emma up as the first performer. As I watched her walk forward, position herself and her music, and then lift her hands to the keys I realized that despite all her emotions she would follow through on what she needed (and wanted) to do. She would perform. 

And she did. Beautifully! 

I wonder how often my life is like this…deeply anxious about what’s to come and worried about whether or not I’ll “mess up,” but when it comes to the moment I step forward, get positioned, and play.

Perfection isn’t the point. Participation is. Playing is!

When my concern overrides my playing, no music results. And when no music results (regardless of form, quality, or expertise) the community cannot celebrate. 

When Emma finished each of her three songs the audience burst into applause. They celebrated with her and on her behalf. They celebrated because she showed up and played!

May we all be as brave as she was, trust that our individual efforts will make a difference when shared, and then play!