I remember watching the Miss America pageant when I was around the age of 4. One of the contestants was playing the piano as her talent. Something struck a chord with me (no pun intended) and I knew that I wanted to learn how to play piano. My parents couldn’t afford to buy me a piano, but my grandparents went together and bought my first piano for me.
It was a giant old upright that had been painted four or five different colors. You could see them where the paint had been chipped or worn off. It didn’t matter to me, though. I started out with the very basic book and started to teach myself how to play. Then my mom arranged with the lady up the road for me to take piano lessons from her. That arrangement lasted for 10 years. During that time I also took Organ lessons from her during the summer.
In school I played French Horn in the band and brass quintet. I sang in every choral group that I possibly could. I even volunteered to accompany the elementary after school choral group. After my high school merged, though, they were able to afford a professional accompanist so I was pushed out of that role. It broke my heart because I loved it so much.
In college I sang in the choir and then would head to the Chapel once a week just to play the Steinway that was there. Nobody was around so I could play and sing to my heart’s content. In the last ten years I have been so busy with other pursuits that my piano playing has fallen to the wayside. In fact, I was afraid that I would have to give my piano up when Jay and I moved into our house. My dad had moved my piano for me to my house last year, but he swore that he would never move it again because it was so heavy. Jay could tell that I didn’t really want to give it up so he promised me that he would move it to our new house. And he did. It needs to be tuned again, a few of the strings are in need of attention, and the case is a bit worse for wear, but I can sit and play to my heart’s content.
I’m not very good. Yes, I can play and make the tune heard, but I can’t play by ear. I can’t play just based on a chord notation. Despite the ten years of piano lessons my fingers are very rusty and need to be whipped back into shape. I feel like I’ve lost five years of those lessons and can’t even begin to think about playing in public for a long while. However, there’s nothing like sitting at the piano and imagining that you are the best pianist ever and that your singing makes others long for you to continue playing. I cringe when I hit the wrong notes or can’t quite get the fingering right, but no matter what it makes me happy to play.
With all of that in mind I decided to join the choir at Church. I wasn’t raised in a church-going family so I never had the opportunity to belong to a church choir before. I’m not familiar with most of the songs so I’m glad that I can at least read music because I can muddle my way through. God didn’t bless me with musical talent like Elton John’s or Jennifer Hudson’s. Instead, He blessed me with the love of music. When I sing in church I feel like I am truly praising Him. I am not good at praying because I wasn’t ever taught how to do it correctly. I try my best, but when I sing I feel like that is the best way for me to show Him my love.
This week I experienced something new. We were singing “How Great Is Our God.” As I was singing the chorus I experienced a chill that shot down through me and gave me goosebumps. I usually only get those kinds of chills when I’m singing patriotic songs that speak about how wonderful this Country is and how blessed we are to live here. Maybe you could say that the spirit touched me. Maybe you could say that I was standing in a draft. Maybe. Either way, it was touching and made me feel like I was doing exactly what I was meant to do. I was meant to literally sing my praises to the Lord. And who knows. Maybe He has other plans for my musical abilities. I wasn’t meant to make millions in concert like Jennifer Hudson, but perhaps my love of music will inspire somebody else or at least bring joy to somebody at church. The lady who sits next to me tells me that I have a lovely voice. It’s one of the nicest compliments I’ve received. 🙂