When the great composer Mozart was young, he would play a cruel trick on his father, Leopold, after he went to bed. Mozart would go to the piano and begin playing a scale loudly, note by note… stopping just one note short. The uncompleted scale would wake Leopold up, driving him crazy until he would eventually get up, stumble to the piano, plunk out the last note, then return to bed in peace.
I don’t know about you, but I often struggle to be content in the middle of the process. I want the unfinished to be resolved, the list to be completed, and the story to have an ending. And yet, most of life is lived in the tension of the middle. When I rush the process in order to get to the ending, I miss so much along the way. One of my constant life lessons is to welcome the uncompleted scales of life, instead of longing for the ending. This is where Jesus teaches me to find hope and peace, even when nothing makes sense.
On a surface level, there’s laundry that needs to be folded and floors that need to be swept. There are appointments to make, deadlines to meet, bills to be paid. But underneath it all, there’s the tension of deeper dissonance as we wrestle with the grief of life. We question if we’re raising our children with the right values. Morning headlines overwhelm us with violence and disunity. We live in the middle of death and divorce, illness and brokenness.
Unlike Mozart’s father, we don’t have the luxury of hitting that one last note that resolves it all. We must learn to live in the tension, leaning on Jesus, who has promised us that one day He will make all things new.
There’s still joy to be found in the tension of life. We don’t sweep the difficulties under the rug and pretend they don’t exist. We don’t wait for the list to be complete or the unanswered questions to be resolved… we search for hope in the unfinished scale. We nestle into the middle of our stories, determined to treasure the little and big things that come our way. We thank God for His gifts that find us every step of the way. We live our unresolved lives boldly, appreciating the beauty that comes with the glorious dissonance of life.