When the Music Fades

I filmed this two summers ago when I was in the fullness of my music life. And I look back at this now, often with tears, because it chronicles so much of my music journey. These seven songs span five of the years of myself chasing after my music dreams and giving it my all. And even though that door closed, and many tears were shed, I can look back on this and smile too. Because even though I can’t play like that anymore — not two hours a day, not professionally, I can still play with that passion for my Savior. It’s all for Him and it’s always going to be, and no matter whether I lose the health or the technique or the career, I never have to lose the heart that made me love it in the first place.

Thank You, LORD, for music and the way You have used it to reveal Yourself to me all throughout my life. Thank You for giving me an outlet to use to praise You. May Your praise ever be on my lips for now and forever, Amen.

— Taryn

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“Just Be Held”

“Lift your hands, lift your eyes, in the storm is where you’ll find Me. And where you are, I’ll hold your heart, I’ll hold your heart.”

This song first pierced my heart when I was battling through mono my junior year. I had no strength left to do anything that I wanted to do or thought I was supposed to do. I had to learn to release all the expectations, all the standards, and just be held. To know that His grace was more than sufficient for exactly what I was supposed to do, and He didn’t expect anything more from me than surrender to Him. No perfect grades, No perfect looks, nothing. Just trust.

I told my best friend just last week, “The times when I have felt very closest to God, when I have felt His presence the most have been some of the hardest days of my life. The days when I had nothing left but Him.” This week, God has been reminding me of that lesson that I have to learn time and time again. To fall on Him and nothing else. Sometimes He has to knock me flat on my back to get my attention, and as much as it hurts, it is always worth it. Because afterwards, He always picks me up and lets me just be held for a while.

 

— Taryn

 

When Dreams Die

I laid on my bed sobbing uncontrollably. I’m generally an emotional person, but this was different. It felt like my life, my identity, my future, was all gone, and I didn’t have a clue how to get back up and keep going. Mononucleosis had been relentlessly ravaging my body for nearly a year. I spent that year fighting with every ounce of strength that I had. I didn’t take “no” for an answer and saw taking time to rest as failure. But at long last, it all caught up to me. I am not a superhero and I don’t have control over everything. —-

I started taking piano lessons when I was eight. I have an unmatched passion for music — every aspect of it. It is a vessel that God uses to bring me immense joy. I knew from the time that I was eight that playing piano, being involved in music in whatever capacity possible, was my dream. The May of my first year playing, I witnessed my first Senior Recital. I beheld the seniors playing as unobtainable, as perfect, as my life goal and dream. And I set out to make that dream a reality.

I was never a naturally gifted pianist. There’s things I’m good at, such as memorizing songs, or picking things out by ear, but technique was never my strong point. I practiced twice as long as it should have take before I could learn some basic things, but it was more than worth it to me. I set crazily high expectations for myself, and did absolutely whatever it took to achieve them. That taught me discipline, perseverance, and hard work that have stuck with me through all of my life.

By my freshman year of high school, I was practicing for about two hours a day, and starting to consider pursuing music as my college major and career one day. I talked with my teacher about what that would take, and was willing to do it. Anything to achieve my dream. That year I also got to know another senior pianist that reinvigorated my passion to be able to play like he could. I was willing to push myself to even more hours, even harder music… Anything. I had intense back pain, but I fought through it, all the while believing I could do anything with enough hard work.

Fast forward to fall of my junior year. I contracted mononucleosis in August, but thought that maybe I was just extra tired because of school starting and so I didn’t go to the doctor. By the time I finally went to the doctor three months later, I was beaten to a pulp. My body could hardly handle going to school in the mornings, much less practicing piano for several hours a day. I fought the impeding verdict for an entire year. Each day straining myself to practice as long as possible, but it was never enough. By last summer, the summer before my senior year, God made the truth painfully clear.

My dream of having a senior recital was over. My dream of a piano performance major was over. There was physically no way my body could withstand that kind of pressure and commitment. My dream that I had striven after for nine years seemed pointless. It seemed wasted. Why would God have let me spend thousands of hours doing something that was going to end in what I considered failure?

Slowly but surely, God began chipping down my walls of bitterness. He began revealing to me that my dream might be dead, but it wasn’t wasted. Spending so many years working so hard towards a goal taught me perseverance, taught me hard work, and taught me discipline. I learned to work with other musicians, and at the root of it all, I spent thousands of hours doing something I love. Those hours weren’t wasted. There were hard days, sure, when the last thing I wanted to do was practice. There were songs I despised playing. But there were so many more good days. So many more times that music was my therapy. So many more songs that I loved playing.

Music and piano are gifts God has given me. His intention wasn’t necessarily for me to use them as my career, but that’s okay. His intention was to bless me, and also to enable me to serve Him through something that I love. I’m never going to stop playing in whatever capacity God allows me to. I play for church, I play for fun, rarely does a day go by that I don’t sit down and play just because it makes me happy. My dream may have died when I realized I couldn’t have a Senior Recital or a Piano Performance degree, but my dream was not wasted. I don’t know exactly where my future leads now, but I’m confident that He does, and that’s more than enough for me.