When I first start practicing a new piece on the piano, I usually have to go pretty slowly. I need to make sure that I'm playing each note correctly.
Some pieces are harder than others. Sometimes there are a bunch of notes in a row that you're supposed to play really fast. Other times, the piece might have a lot of what are called accidentals. These are notes that come as a surprise. Because they're a surprise, they can trip your fingers up pretty easily.
Even when I want to be able to play a piece of music as fast as it's supposed to be played, it often takes me a few times of going through it slowly before I really get the hang of it. I want to make sure I'm playing the right notes at the right times and not leaving any notes out. It's hard to believe, but the sound of a piece of music can change dramatically even if just one note is missed.
My piano playing has made me think a lot about the importance of every note. It's not just that the sound of one piece could change if a note were left out. If we lost a note for good like middle C, for example the whole of music would change. Every symphony ever written and every song ever sung would be missing something essential.
So every note is important. Each one matters and each one has value. Just because one person doesn't like middle C doesn't make middle C any less significant. One person's opinion can't change the value of middle C or affect its individual place on the musical scale.
These ideas helped me when I felt people didn't like me because of who I was. I didn't follow the crowd, and at first, I was OK with that. But after a while, it was harder to stand up for who I was because who I was was different. Some people didn't like that about me, and soon I didn't like that about myself.
As I prayed about this, it struck me that in the same way that every piece of music would be different if just one note were missing, God's creation would be totally different if one of His children, His ideas, were missing. This was a neat thought. But was it actually true? At first I had a hard time believing that I mattered that much.
But there was something in the Bible, in the book of Genesis, that made me think again. It's a passage that says, "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them" (Gen. 2:1). The word that made me stop and think was finished. That meant God's creation is complete. And complete means that no more is needed and no less is needed. But everything that God made which the passage before tells us was "very good" is needed.
This helped me a lot. It showed me that because I was God's idea, I was needed for the completeness of creation. "You're the only you there is," I realized at one point. That made me feel special and valuable.
I realized that even if no one else thought so, I did have worth. My individuality mattered to God because He was the one who made me. And because God made me, I could stand strong in who I was. What other people thought couldn't change the fact that I was important to and loved by God.
The more I appreciated the special way I expressed God, the easier it was for me to love who I was. Soon, I met other people who also liked and appreciated me. In fact, many of them thought it was neat that I didn't follow the crowd. It was one of the reasons they liked me.
Like notes on a scale, each of us has a special place in God's creation a place no one else can ever take. And just like a symphony needs middle C, so God needs each one of us. That means you matter. God needs your expression of Him.
The divine Mind maintains all identities, from a blade of grass to a star, as distinct and eternal.
Mary Baker Eddy
(founder of the Monitor)