First year Master of Divinity student Peter Lekx writes:
As I take a few moments to step outside the busy pace of student life, and look back at my first fall semester at Dio, I am struck in joy and amazement with how much my life has changed in such a short time. What a blessing it is to be in such a supportive community of faculty and students who are all seeking a life of learning and ministry in Christ Jesus. It is easy to take for granted the many blessings in my life that have allowed me to be in a place of learning so much about my Christian faith. My family, my fellow students, and my home church community at St. Jax Montreal all have been instrumental in bringing me to where I am now, and an inspiration for finding the courage to follow where I am being called.
These days, it seems that time is the most precious resource that I can possess. It is a bizarre thing to come back to university studies as an adult, particularly as a husband, parent of two children age 3 and under, and a freelance classical musician to boot! I love being a dad my family is my pride and joy (yes,I will break out the pictures at the slightest prompting). I love being a musician too, and have worked in the classical music world for 20 years. In fact, one of the main ways I am able to be able to support my studies at Dio is by continuing to teach privately, directing a school orchestra in NDG, and continuing to perform concerts with various ensembles here in Montreal and beyond.
Now that I am a student once more myself, I look back on my studies many years ago and lament those scholarly skills that I neglected to developed, at the expense of other ways of processing information in the musical world around me. I am amazed by the depth of thought and understanding in my colleagues, and can only hope that their brilliance will eventually rub off on me if I keep hanging around them long enough!
For me, playing violin and viola is a way that I am able to get closer to God. It is a way that I can communicate with God in a language that is beyond words. Those times of private practice which are essential for any musician are also often a time of prayer and meditation for me. I have often found that some issue I am wrestling with will only come into clarity while I am immersed in practicing a Bach violin sonata, or even simply an etude or scale! Last week, I was performing in a series of concerts with a fantastic chamber orchestra here in Montreal, and I was reminded how precious and important it is, at least for me, to continue to use my musical talents, and not set those skills aside at this time.
This reminds me of a recent conversation in our ministry seminar about bivocational ministry. Much like the demands on a pastor, the demands of a professional musician are considerable. The same for a teacher; and definitely as a parent. I am realizing that if this model of ministry ends up being the nature of my calling, then the current tension in my life around finding enough time to juggle my many responsibilities is perhaps not a tension that can be solved, but one that needs to be lived in and managed. I may need to temporarily let some things that are important to me go, but recognizing this unsolvable picture helps to put it in perspective, and make it manageable. With God’s grace, it shall be!
When I started writing this reflection, I intended to talk about what it is like coming to Anglican seminary as a musician who raised Baptist, loves liturgy and is part of a more evangelical Anglican community at St. Jax Montreal. I’d still love to have that conversation, so ask me in person! Instead, I’ve shared a bit about recognizing and living in some of the tensions I have been experiencing as a student, parent, teacher, aspirant to ministry, musician, and child of God. I imagine that in our increasingly busy world, though my own perspective may be unique, this tension over juggling responsibilities is not. I look forward, in future conversations, to hearing how you have been able to manage these tensions in your own life.