A Thing Worth Doing

I must have heard the saying young. “A thing worth doing is worth doing well.” Being an average first born, full of rigid idealistic perfectionism, I thought this was an excellent saying, and strove mightily.

The trouble is, I got older, and met people who were better than me at everything. Well, no one person was better than me at everything I do. But there are better cooks. Better self-hair-do-ers. Better writers. Better violinists. Oh god. The violinists that are out there.

I was a violinist in training. I had huge aspirations. Confronted with so many violinists who were so much better than me, I quailed. I was doing a worthy thing, and I wasn’t doing it very well at all. I was solid, very solid, at a regional level. But I was at camps with internationally awesome rock star violin gods, and I lost my nerve.

A few years later, I quit. I  couldn’t play well enough to meet my own (semi-arbitrary) expectations. No matter that I had personal evidence that practice improves the situation. I didn’t have the guts to face the personal failure, so I quit.

But then I got older, had some kids, faced down the shocking levels of daily failure that motherhood brings. A lot of things worth doing weren’t getting done at all. So I started doing the worthy things halfway, half-assed, halfhearted. Sometimes, weeping.

But the worthy things are getting done. And that is better. So I say to you, a thing worth doing is worth doing badly. It’s worth doing with a tear and a sigh.

It’s worth failing.

A thing worth doing is a thing worth doing.

So yesterday, I opened my case, and apologized to my violin, and tried again. Godspeed in your journey, dear reader. Do the worthy thing.


5 thoughts on “A Thing Worth Doing

  1. Boy does this resonate. With my piano-playing I was often complimented on being such a beautiful player, but then I started seeing so many younger players who could play circles around me in their sleep, or compose complex beauties before age 10, or some such that made my best efforts look agonizingly amateur. And also I have get this way with my writing. My story-writing, and my blog-writing too.

    But you are right. A thing worth doing is a thing worth doing. So do on, my friend, do on. Let the violin help you praise our Lord, for He is pleased with an obedient heart.

  2. I love this.

    “The shocking levels of daily failure that motherhood brings.”
    And the host of people in your life and head who are quick to point it out.

    I had a similar experience with visual arts. I had a fair amount of talent at painting and drawing but decided not to major in art because “there are so many good artists out there.”

  3. Add me to the club. I do the worthy thing and what’s more, I do it by faith cause that’s all I see in front of me (no results, no praises, just worthy things done not so well but in ‘the hope’ that they count somehow, someday, to someone)

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