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You Have a Unique Part to Play

by Martha Nelson

Growing up in Midwest America I had the chance to play French Horn in our school’s concert band. I also had an inspiring conductor, Mr Wilkie, who introduced us to classical music and gave me an appreciation for a type of music I could have missed hanging out with my 1970’s friends. I’d like to say I excelled at my instrument and worked hard, but in fact I was lazy when it came to practicing so only sat in fourth chair throughout high school. However, as Mr Wilkie needed French Horn players and I had a good enough ear to play this more difficult instrument, I was privileged to take part even though I didn’t contribute as much as others. (We didn’t have any stringed instruments at our modest school.)

After high school, I never played again – but continued to enjoy listening to music, especially classical – often recognizing the pieces (and French Horn parts) we had played in Mr Wilkie’s concert band. I also find now that listening to any piece of music, I am appreciating not just the melody but how all the supporting parts and percussion add to the presentation. Often subtle but to me fascinating – and impressive how a composer can imagine all of these very different sounds working together to tell a beautiful musical story. I also enjoy watching the conductor as he encourages and cues each section and player to provide the best performance. The individual part heard on its own could be unremarkable; but blended together it creates something complete and beautiful.

Do you ever find yourself doing that?

To me it’s also a picture of how each personality in our world has something unique to offer. We each have a part to play. We may feel hidden or that we are not “giving it our all” – but we would still be missed – and we offer something the person next to us never could.

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The conductor is also a picture to me of my need for a leader at times to bring out my best. And when it comes to direction for my life or big choices, it seems the One who created me is the ONLY one who can skilfully direct my life choices and help me find meaning to my life. I believe I was created for a purpose – and even if that “sound” is a background one and not the solo role in the music being performed, it would be missed. You would be missed too. 

So the next time you are tempted to feel “my life doesn’t matter” or “no one even knows I’m here” – stop and reconsider: is that really true? Or do you just need to get to know your Creator enough to trust the way he may lead you? You might be surprised at what you hear.

If you’re interested in exploring this topic more, here's a short video:  You are Unique.

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