Image courtesy of Thia Photographie
“Can I get a violin for Christmas? Please?!”…”The violin is my favorite instrument ever!”…”Is there anyone in our town who teaches violin lessons?”
I was eight years old, and had begged my parents for violin lessons for at least a year and a half. These are just a few of the pleas that my mom heard from me daily. My parents agreed that I could have the lessons I desired. Finally, finally, the day arrived. My first violin lesson was going to happen! I eagerly skipped into my first lesson. You see, in my childish, eight year old mind, I presumed that within one week of lessons, I’d be playing gracefully and beautifully.
However, after several months of practicing simple exercises and tunes, I was tired of it all. “Can I quit violin lessons now?” I asked my mom. However, she informed me that I was not a quitter.
Daily pep talks ensued: “Give it a few years, Ciara. You will be so glad you didn’t quit! You have talent.” Little did I know that was learning patience and perseverance. Within a couple of years, I was playing cute little tunes and performing at biannual recitals . But I still wanted to quit. I disliked the boring hours of practice. I disliked challenging myself to get better. “You don’t need to quit now! You have so much talent and potential!” My mom encouraged. I rolled my eyes as I rehearsed a minuet by Bach.
Three years later, I was 13 and making money for playing at events! I was even occasionally playing at church. But, I still wanted to quit. “Keep on for a few more years! You will thank yourself one day!” Came the now familiar pep talk from my mom. So I gave it a few more years…And a few more years…And guess what? My mom was right. I realized that I actually enjoyed playing my instrument! The years of work had paid off, after all. I found myself practicing for fun. Just because I wanted to. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no virtuoso. But I can play.
I learned a something more important than the violin through those years. I learned one valuable lesson that sticks with me even today:
When you feel like quitting, don’t.
It’s a simple concept, but an important one. Because as you go through life, sometimes you will want to quit. Not only in small or unimportant things, but in big things. In so many situations, giving up would be the easy thing to do. But please don’t abandon your ambitions, your dreams, or your calling. You have what it takes. I believe in you, but more importantly, God does. Don’t throw in the towel! Your future self will thank you.