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Unfolding Imperfection

I sit down at the piano to play the same piece I've played a hundred times before but this time my heart races, my pulse quickens, my fingers twitch. What is different? The recorder is listening.

It is amazing to see how the human mind reacts differently under pressure compared to free time. Once the record button is pushed, there is no going back, no redos, no fix-it spots. Either you spoil the recording or you nail it. Sure, you can go back and do another take, but the same problem will be true for that take--you've got to nail it then too.

Yet, in spite of this added stress, it is far more "fun" to play for a live audience, or a live recorder because of the added pressure of the outcome. The same way it is more enjoyable to play a game with scorekeepers and an umpire compared to a pick-up game in the backyard.

This is why a YouTube video consisting of one take is so much more thrilling than multiple camera angles and patching together of various takes. This is why we still attend concerts instead of just listening to auto-tuned CD performances on our high dollar stereo systems at home. There is something delightfully human about the chance to fail and the chance to succeed.

I would submit that the thing that makes a baseball game great is the fact that not every game has a grand slam and not every pitcher throws a perfect game every time. We love to watch our team succeed and the other team fail. We love to be surprised by the outcome of each unique play. We love to attend a concert and listen to a violin concerto in which the soloist bends a few pitches too sharp or flat--there is a certain humanness to it that we can relate to.

What makes life so interesting for us is that everyday we have the opportunity to fail or succeed. As the day unfolds we have chances to nail our performance or totally flub up.

God is our audience--can you sense the excitement unfold as you prepare for your next performance? It's called tomorrow morning.


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