Dreams of being a cellist and Kendo master

Last Saturday (December 16) we had a Christmas concert where a piano, violin, and cello trio performed classical music, gospel, and Christmas carols. For those who do not have the time or the opportunity to see performances elsewhere, or for those who are not familiar enough with it to understand and enjoy it with their children, this was a wonderful opportunity for our congregation to be exposed to classical music. Although it was only a trio, the performers were outstanding, and they played familiar tunes. I regretted the low turnout and wished more people could have enjoyed it.

I am not an expert on classical music, but I like it very much, so much so that at one point, before I became a pastor, I dreamed about becoming a classical musician. When I was growing up, I always wanted to learn to play an instrument, as well as Taekwondo. But as with most of our generation, this was not a readily available option, and the desire remains. But when I turned thirty, I thought to myself, “Why pine over things when I can start something right now? Let me prove that it’s not too late to start something new at the age of thirty.” So I started taking cello lessons and attending Kendo (Japanese fencing) classes, because at that time a well-known Korean drama had made Kendo very popular.

Despite a busy work schedule, carrying a cello and Kendo equipment in the trunk of my car made me happy and energetic. After two years, I was able to perform the cello with church youths, and I also participated in a national amateur Kendo competition. My life consisted of one hour at the Kendo club after early-morning prayer, and one hour of cello practice after work. I did see limitation with my cello playing. Since I was working full-time, I could only practice after 10 PM, but the neighbors were not generous enough to bear noise coming from my apartment that late at night. So my progress with the cello was stunted. However, I did reach the 3rd Dan for Kendo, and won a Gold medal for individual competition in our club two years in a row by the time I left for the States. This was an achievement.

We often tend to think that it’s too late for us to start something. While planning for the upcoming expanded worship service, I have asked young adults in their 20s to learn a relatively simple instrument. The negative replies I get are often based on the idea that they are too old to learn, and I just laugh. We have a saying, “Better late than never”. But we still postpone our self-development by giving lame excuses that it’s too late. How about you? Will you try something new in an area that will please God in the year 2007?

Soo Kwan Lee

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