Yesterday evening I attended a free jazz concert at the Library of Congress. I don’t love jazz, but my husband does. I went because I love my husband. To me, jazz is a little like hockey—a snooze to watch on television (can anyone actually see the puck?), but an adrenaline rush if you are sitting two feet behind the glass. Likewise, jazz on cd can put me to sleep, but watching these guys play was an exciting experience.
The capacity of these five men to make intricate, high-speed arrangements appear effortless was phenomenal. I knew I was watching authentic masters of their instruments. But it wasn’t their music I was most impressed with. It was the way each member of the band was eager to make the others a success.
The band-leader—a legendary jazz pianist and the reason we’d all trekked downtown on a Monday night—modestly directed the other musicians to display their talents. The drummer seemed ecstatic just to keep time so the flutist could make his flute sing. When any band-member received applause following a lengthy solo, they would slightly bow and then point to the others, as if to say, “I couldn’t have done it without their help.”
I’ve been reading and thinking a lot lately about our “helper” role as women. Equal in worth to men, we nevertheless have a different assignment from God. Genesis 2:18-22 tell us that Eve was created as “a helper fit” for Adam. We wrote in Girl Talk that: “As women, we have been specially equipped to provide strategic, effective, and valuable help and aid to those around us. We are God’s handpicked support staff for creation.”
For those of us who are married, we have been called to help a particular man, our husband: to support, assist and encourage him in fulfilling God’s call on his life. But as we’ve often said here, we don’t receive our helper certificate on our wedding day. All women come stamped with this helper design, which we are to fulfill regardless of the sphere of life in which God has placed us.
Far from being a demeaning role, our helper role is vital and honorable. Yet, following the concert last night, I realized that I don’t often delight in my helper role as much as those musicians obviously enjoyed helping one another, for the sake of great music. While I firmly believe this is my calling from God, I don’t often relish and savor the satisfaction of making it possible for Steve to serve God.
So I want us to steal a sheet of music, so to speak, from these legendary musicians. For teenage girls and singles, who can you joyfully help today—your parents, your siblings, someone in your church? For married women, what is one way we can help our husbands today? Together, let’s delight in our helper role and craft some beautiful music of our own, music pleasant to the ears of God.