Thoughts from a Musician's Heart


YOUR LAST PIECE by Barbara Kavanaugh


How would you play if you knew it were your Last Piece, the Finale of your life as a performer?

As Christians, we believe through faith in the Incarnation, Life, Crucifixion, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ and in his promise of Eternity with God.

But we really cannot know what the next moment will bring. We cannot know our life circumstances around the corner, nor if we will hold our instrument again, nor the moment when God calls us into the Next Life.

Only God knows.

“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)

My thoughts are not to be negative or morbid. Who wants to live like Puddleglum in the Chronicles of Narnia, expecting the worst: accident, injury, illness, death, the Apocalypse? Instead, my desire is to see my own life with an eternal perspective, trusting that God Who is Love has plans for me which are beyond my understanding.

I’m sharing a recent God-moment for me. I was playing in an orchestra when this thought dropped into my mind: “What if this were the last piece I play!?” I tried to pour my heart, soul, and best technique into my playing. Playing this way every time might be more intensity than I could bear. Should I have relaxed, resting in God’s grace, and enjoyed the gift He has given me? Should I have played as if I were sharing the Gospel story with each listener? Should I have played with tears of grief that I would not play again? Perhaps there could be a hint of “Thank God, no more pressure for perfection?” I remembered the musicians on the sinking Titanic playing “Nearer My God to Thee”.

All of the above? None of the above? Or a combination of a thousand ways to play the last piece? God created individuals, and each has their unique life journey with Him.

Sermons, slogans, gurus, Ted Talks tell us to live each day as if it were the last. How would my music be different if I thought it might possibly be my last?

How would you play if it were your Last Piece, the Finale of your performance career?

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