I have a beautiful, old, upright piano. I haven’t looked at the markings within for a while, but memory tells me this piano is from the early 1900’s. Even if it’s not quite that old, it still plays a part in many of my childhood memories. The first 14 years of my life, it served as the room divider between my dad’s “off limits” office space and the front half of the room where my brother and I could venture, and yes I was ALWAYS sneaking behind it. This piano lived under my bedroom, and I fondly remember drifting peacefully into sleep to the sound of my mother practicing spinning song or moonlight sonata. I took lessons from time to time but I wasn’t diligent enough with my practice. I can still barely fumble out a tune, but this piano STILL means so much to me.
I grew up and moved away from home to start a family of my own. I made my parents promise to keep the piano until I could reclaim it. Five years later, the time was finally right. They loaded it up and took the 180 mile trek to my Indiana home to deliver it. I was ecstatic, and could barely contain my excitement. It had been way too long since I was able to slide onto the bench to disappear into the sounds and familiarity of the cool, ivory keys. Losing myself in the music had always been my way of handling stresses when they threatened to suffocate my ability to cope.
When he arrived the look on my dad’s face was strange, and I noticed something about the piano didn’t look exactly right, but my brain wasn’t processing the scene. My dad choked out (the second time) “I dumped your piano on the bypass.” It had fallen over the side of his truck as he merged from one highway to the next, crashing to the pavement with a stomach-churning and dissonant sound that my dad never could forget. (CR 17s to CR 20w if you are local. It landed right there in the triangle between traffic.) He loaded it back into his truck in pieces, with the help of a sympathetic passerby.
I think I cried pretty hard, but I have a tendency to stay strong and “unfazed” during the moments of crisis. I pulled out the yellow pages (this was around 1999, we still used those) to seek a repairman. I was told, “It’s bonfire kindling, now,” by a voice so unsympathetic that I simply mumbled “are you SURE?” then hung up, informing the family of the devastating news. My dad was visibly upset, and I just couldn’t stand there accepting that it was so quickly and easily destroyed. Mournfully placing the keys back in their appropriate places it felt as if I were attempting re-assemble Humpty-Dumpty. I realized I wasn’t giving up– I hit redial, told them the soundboard looked OK to me, and that it broke apart in large chunks, couldn’t they just come take a look? They humored me, took a look and declared that this was the first piano they’ve ever seen that had a chance. It took him quite a bit of time and work (and it wasn’t cheap), but sure enough it’s back in my living room and now my kids bring me near tears composing the most beautiful music on its keys.
Tonight my eyes were drawn to that piano and God whispered to my heart that the piano and I– we go deeper than just the chronological history– That piano is a representation of some of his work in me.
Just as the piano toppled headlong into oncoming traffic with little to no warning, and for no apparent reason, I had a human version of that in my own past. I made some life altering choices that left me shattered, broken and battered. Everyone who looked at me, everyone who heard about me, and all of the people who could put me back together again suggested that I was a lost cause; “Her soul’s bonfire kindling, now.” But Jesus wasn’t giving up.
He looked at the soundboard of my soul, and told the Father that I could still be fixed; that He wasn’t giving up yet because there was still Hope. I then became one of his special projects as he rebuilt me almost from scratch, lovingly and caringly reconnecting my framework. He gently replaced my hammers and keys. He removed the old, tattered felt replacing it with new. Then he re-ran strings damaged by a lifetime of imperfect handling. Christ looked at the cracked wood and the skid marks left by my violent fall, and reformed the gouged wood with putty to fill the holes. Some of the surface scrapes he left alone, scars to remind me of the truth of my past.
Finally, he was able to re-tune my strings and close the lid. Placing his fingers on the keys of my heart he pressed one note and then another; a chord followed by one more, until once again a strong, beautiful song emanated from what was once useless, shattered and broken.
I have been given another chance to learn to play music that brings my Father to tears because of its passion. I am not yet a master of the music of my heart, but as I follow His lead and learn from Him the music that emanates improves and becomes increasingly sweet.
Can you comprehend what a creative and passionate God you have been created in the image of? I am in awe of the ‘secrets’ he whispers to me when I take a moment to listen.