Copying Paul (or David or...)
It's time for an update on my lungs. Why? Because I finally have something worthy of an update!
While I was recovering from surgery, most days felt the same. It was hard to see progress. Harder to see hope. So, my friend Nancy made a poster for my bedroom wall. She wrote at the top in big letters, "VICTORY POINTS." Under that, she listed all the things that I could do on that day that I couldn't do the week before. The list included several thing that I hadn't already discovered myself.That bright pink poster was taped conspicuously to the wall near my door so that I had to notice it as I laid in bed for hours. There was no way for me to forget that truly, I WAS making progress!Today, I am adding new, virtual, Victory Points to my chart:
Sometime during the past week, my ribs stopped hurting. Completely. (Except when I sneeze. Let's not count that.) For the record, that's 6 months and 2 weeks post-surgery. Can I get an, Amen!?
I went grocery shopping last Saturday and it did NOT wipe me out. In fact, I ran two more errands afterwards. Do I hear an, "Hallelujah?"
Chris has traveled out of town twice recently. I didn't need a mommy-sitter. Ahh, the absolutely pleasure of independence.
And that's my update. Wasn't it fun? :)
In other news: the kids and I read through Psalms this summer. Each week, on Friday, we chose one Psalm from the week to copy. The kids almost always chose the shortest Psalm from the week. That's what kids do. I copied the psalm that I connected to the most in the week. The one that stirred my heart. That reminded me of God's victory over his enemies and his steadfast love for me.
Have you ever copied big chunks of the Bible, just because you wanted to? I'll admit, I never had before this year. I do enjoy copying a favorite scripture. There are little yellow squares of evidence all over my house.However, last year, in BSF, I learned that, "... Martin Luther's friend, Philip Melanchthon, copied the book of Romans twice in his own handwriting because he wanted to make it more perfectly his own."
I wanted to make the book of Romans my own as well. I had never copied an entire book of the Bible and wasn't confident I could do it. Or, at least, I wasn't sure how long it would take me. But I did truly want to slow down and marinate in the truths I was discovering in Romans more deeply. So, I challenged myself to do it. I bought a spiral notebook and made a small attempt.
Jump forward a few months and there I was, post-op and out of bed, yet not quite strong enough to take part in running the house. Not yet able to do the grocery shopping, drive kids to appointments, or make dinner daily. But I did have a little burst of energy each afternoon. So I got out that pretty notebook and starting copying Romans by hand diligently. It took all 4 months of serious post-op recovery to finish, but I did it. And it was everything I had hoped it would be.
Copying by hand forced me to slow down and think about each word, not just each logical point. It let me treasure the truths I loved dearly. I found myself stopping occasionally as a truth stood out in a new way. It brought me to tears a few times as they sunk deep and met me in my new, more vulnerable place.
The copying of the words that I knew came directly from the Spirit of God made them more personal to me. Seeing them in long-form, messy handwriting (I didn't copy the verse numbers), made the words more real. This letter, written to the believers in Rome, became a true Love Letter to me. It revealed the heart of God to me. It helped me to understand his character more deeply... more completely. Copying the scripture became an act of worship. A way to experience truth. Not just read it... or study it... but truly experience it.
Years ago, I watched the movie, "Copying Beethoven." It's pure fiction, but so, so wonderful. It's about a girl who copied out Beethoven's music scores by hand, which, by the way, is the how it was done back then. Historically, that job was done by men, but in the movie, the copyist is a beautiful young woman. Much more Hollywood than truth.
The movie is set in the snippet of time before Beethoven wrote his Ninth Symphony. (Which is pure genius! I must go listen to it again. Right now!) Beethoven was almost completely deaf at this point in his life. He was also very sick, probably from too much wine. The combination of ailments made him isolated and rather cranky. The word, "cantankerous" comes to mind.
Yet, the pretty young copyist learns Beethoven's inner character as she copies his music. The music itself reveals Beethoven's beautiful soul to her. The story builds to a great moment, slightly (ahem!) inaccurately told in the movie, when Beethoven insists on conducting the first performance of the Ninth Symphony in front of a live audience. This, by a deaf man, would be impossible. In the movie, it is made possible because the young copyist sits on the floor at the back of the orchestra with the musical score before her and conducts the Conductor. She keeps time with her hands and is only visible by Beethoven himself. In this way, he can keep time accurately with the orchestra by following her lead. The way it is portrayed, it is as if she, the copyist, can somehow communicate with Beethoven, the great composer, silently. Wordlessly. In a way no one else could. Their musical hearts beat in the same time. Synchronized by the music. Why? How could she, a mere copyist, do this? Because she understood him. She knew him. She really knew Beethoven.
All this, just by copying the composer's handwritten score.
Dr. Suzuki said, "Music is the language of the heart..." If that's true, then a composer is surely putting his heart and soul into each note. And a copyist would have a window into the composer's heart. Yes?
How much more do we see the heart and soul of God in each word of scripture? How much more can we learn about our loving Creator and Redeemer by copying by hand each of his Spirit-breathed words?
I don't know why this is true. But it is my experience. And I intend to do it again. In a way, I think I may be addicted to writing out the very words of God. Have you ever copied huge chunks of scripture and had a similar experience?