There is no music in a “rest,” but there is the making of music in it. In our whole life melody, the music is broken off here and there by “rests,” and we foolishly think we have come to the end of the tune. God sends a time of forced leisure — sickness, disappointed plans, frustrated efforts — and makes a sudden pause in the choral hymn of our lives, and we lament that our voices must be silent, and our part missing in the music which ever goes up to the ear of the Creator.
How does the musician read the rest? See him beat the time with unvarying count, and catch up the next note true and steady, as if no breaking place had come between. Not without design does God write the music of our lives. But be it ours to learn the tune, and not be dismayed at the “rests.” They are not to be slurred over nor to be omitted, nor to destroy the melody, nor to change the keynote. If we look up, God Himself will beat the time for us. With the eye on Him, we shall strike the next note full and clear.
If we sadly say to ourselves, “There is no music in a ‘rest,'” let us not forget “there is the making of music in it.” The making of music is often a slow and painful process in this life. How patiently God works to teach us! How long He waits for us to learn the lesson!
From The Works of Ruskin (1925) by John Ruskin (1819-1900), British art critic, social thinker, and philanthropist.