Monday, October 29, 2012


When I was a very little girl we lived in a two-family house in north New Jersey.
It looked alot like this house.
For me between the ages of 3 and 9, my family lived in the upstairs unit above an unmarried, elderly church organist whom we affectionately nicknamed "Aunt"Alice. 

In her downstairs unit,  "Aunt"Alice kept almost entirely to herself. 
My siblings and I scampered down the sole flight of stairs to her normally-silent and 
intruigingly similar home
as often as my mother would allow, which was not often enough for social kids like us.
"Aunt" Alice tolerted us and even knitted us slippers with knobby tassels every year at Christmas
but now I know from my mother that she also called upstairs on the telephone to ask my mom 
to retrieve us. 
This, in addition to the fact that she always had those pastel, melty mints handy which I loved
is all I remember of her. 

Except for her brilliantly serene piano playing on Sunday afternoons. 

In our upstairs unit of the two-family home, we were required to doff our Sunday best clothes 
and climb back into our beds for a mandatory Sunday afternoon nap.

As a kid, this was a loathed practice. 
I wasn't tired.
I didn't wanna nap.
(*whine, whine*)
I obeyed, however and always reluctantly fell asleep....and most Sunday afternoons my mind was caressed back to reality from dreams
by "Aunt"Alice's piano playing downstairs.

The notes lifted above "Aunt"Alice's painted ceilings below us, through our creaky wooden floors and wafted up to the exposed, burnished beams of our unit,
lilting invisibly around our house even though we were merely the Listeners of Pirated Notes.

This music was sacred to us, as none of our family played an instrument 
and we tiptoed gratefully all afternoon as "Aunt"Alice's ancient hymnal came to life downstairs
accidentally raining on us gifts of sweet melodies and triumphant choruses and poignant refrains.

When there came a pause in the music.............
................we waited, listening.......
.........since none of us could elicit more music ourselves.
We could not ask "Aunt"Alice to continue - there wasn't an iPhone to text her downstairs
and after all, just talking about her piano playing might make her realize how we were filtering her talent to our own unit upstairs and maybe she would decide our ears weren't fit for such songs.

No, we had to wait it out. We had to patiently strain to catch what might be the next notes
 from the piano.
The musical pause might mean no more music till next Sunday afternoon, after naptime.

The pause....that was the agonizing bit.

The pause. In music, it's called a rest.
It's a hard thing to teach to a new musician: the rest.

Pausing and resting is not easy....not for a musician, not for an antsy child,
not for a passionate woman.

THIS is where God has had me. In the pausing. 
He has asked me to pause and rest....
not "rest" like the sleep of a mandatory Sunday afternoon naptime
 but "rest" like a comma in a sentence. 
God has placed a great, big, unexpected PAUSE in my path and asked me to REST.
It's a "rest" and not a "stop" - 
 just a tune 
which wants resolution.
 I expect that the song will be beautiful after the break.
But the's still squirmy for me.
I'm still no good at waiting it out.
I still linger on the last note, trying to catch it without letting it burst like a bubble on a wand
and I still expectantly strain to hear the next note ringing audaciously.
I still want to get up out of my seat and meander during the intermission till the
house lights are blinking again
and are excitedly dimmed for the Feature Presentation to continue.

I have to learn to be intentional here - in the pausing.
It's not as harmonious. But so supremely important a lesson.
Without rests you will run clean out of air.

So I agree to pause. Reluctantly. Intentionally. Obediently. Hopefully.

1 comment:

  1. Esty, this is simply beautiful. I love these words. And from the post below, it looks like you are living this "pause" expertly. xo