What a choir pianist taught me about hard work

Last night we had the opportunity to watch our oldest daughter perform in her High School Christmas Choir concert. She and her classmates did a wonderful job filling the audience with holiday joy through seasonal classics such as, We Wish You a Merry Christmas and Jingle Bell Rock.

But there was a point in the concert that my attention was drawn away from the angelic voices of the students and to the man behind the music, the large-statured pianist who almost stole the show. It was during the beautifully unique rendition of O Holy Night that I saw something that made me pause; something that challenged me deeply. 

During this particular piece the singing was soft and melodic, but the accompaniment was stirring and sweeping. The man on the piano bench was obviously producing music on only one instrument, with only two hands, but it sounded as full as a symphony. As my ears enjoyed the elegant music, my eyes couldn't help but notice the effort that was being put into it.

It was clear for all to see that he, the choir pianist, was really working hard to make all that music happen. Up and down the scale his hands went, fingers flying from key to key. His body shifting here, then there, eyes darting from the pages to the keyboard and back again, perspiration forming on his brow. This was hard work! No doubt about it. And that's when it hit me... 

Producing beautiful things takes hard work! [Tweet that]

Now, you may have already known that and are thinking that I'm a little slow. Or maybe you too handicap yourself by thinking that for something to go right, for it to turn out great, there can't be any resistance, any difficulties or obstacles. It has to just fall together. It must come easy.

Well, life experience and what I saw last night tell a different story. To produce something of real value, whether it's an impressive choir accompaniment, a solid career, a beautiful painting, a life-changing book or a happy and loving family, takes hard work and tenacity and sacrifice and sweat and pain. 

I know all this in my mind, but when my alarm sounds in the morning and the warm fleece sheets hold me like Velcro, when late-day fatigue blurs my vision, when discouragement beats on my heart, when setbacks come and come and come, am I willing then to press on, hold fast and stay the course for the sake of producing beautiful things?

Knowing that hard work is required doesn't make the challenge any easier or guarantee success, but it can keep us from those comfortable delusions that surely lead to failure.

No, creating things of great value will never be easy, but it will always be worth it.

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