My husband and I are thinking of rearranging the living room-game room downstairs. When we first moved into our concrete cubicle of a home, it was an unfinished basement we made do until the upstairs was built. And against an inside wall is an ancient upright piano. A neighbor friend bought it for me shortly after we moved in, after learning I’d sold my spinet to pay for the septic tank.
When the kids were little, they pounded the keys for the sheer enjoyment of making noise, then, when they were older, reluctantly practiced their music lessons on it. When I was a pianist for the small country church we attended, I’d rehearse hymns and compose songs. On that piano, I lost myself in music when I was supposed to be tending to housework. I could come to the keyboard weary and leave ready to tackle the job at hand.
Sometime over the years, the music disappeared. The kids grew up and left. Dean and I attended a bigger church, with much more accomplished pianists than I could ever be. I embraced a career change, going from teaching to writing, and my fingers pecked at another kind of keyboard. The songbooks were stacked into a forgotten corner. My life was so busy, I didn’t even miss it.
Then last year we discussed rearranging the living room.
“That old piano has got to go,” I told my husband. “All it’s good for anymore is collecting dust.”
How were we going to get that monstrous thing out of the house, I wondered. My husband suggested dismantling and burning it. That’s when I decided I like the living room just the way it is.
It’s one thing to give the piano away, another to destroy it completely. Why, it would be like killing a part of me. You see, that old piano reminds me of who I am, where I came from, and people I loved—my mom, my sister, both gone now. Sis would play and Mom would stand by our old mahogany upright, dish towel thrown over her shoulder, tapping her foot and singing her heart out. It reminds me of the music I turned to when my heart was broken, when I was lonely, when I fought to control my restless spirit. When I’d come home from a day of teaching, exhausted, an hour at the keyboard refreshed me like nothing else could.
Throughout my life music has lifted burdens, calmed my fears, and patched up my brokenness. It’s helped me to “Climb Every Mountain,” “Look for the Silver Lining,” “Put on a Happy Face,” and reminded me that I’ll “Never Walk Alone.”
When depression descended on King Saul, music soothed his troubled spirit. King David was an accomplished musician and composer. Read the Psalms—you’ll see how music helped him to deal with life and all that’s uncontrollable in it—and focus on the One who’s the source of all song, the One truly in control.
Get rid of my piano? Nah, I don’t think so.
Thank you, Lord, for the music You put in our souls. Amen.
Special-Tea: Read 1 Samuel 16:14–23