As I sit there, my fingers tenderly and carefully caress the keys…. I let them begin lingering over each one as though they were all precious to me. And they are. I gaze at them as though I have fallen in love with them anew. As I begin to appreciate my days gone by, my years now far away, I see that each stage of life is precious like that. There may be so many keys and each is different, but each is also precious with its specific, singular note. Each note gives a different perspective, filling the room with a different mood, a different piece of musical life. Coming together to create something that is capable of touching deeply, arousing feeling–emotion. As the melody strings together under my fingers, racing quickly, I see that I am no longer in control of the tune. It sweeps away as my fingers take themselves there. I am merely a bystander in this entire act.
Life feels like this too, some days. As though I am swept away with the tune. Those weeks when your body is so tired… not from physical exertion, but from work! It’s good, but tiresome nevertheless. My piano sits in my office, usually untouched save the occasional moments, late at night, when I have a bit of time and I start to feel capable. At the age of four, I began to play. I played all through my school years, my parents valuing my lessons highly, and up through college as well. My piano is something private usually, and I wasn’t a performer–I experienced nervousness from recitals. I loved to play for myself, or for a friend who would jam with me. At any rate, my years have become more jam packed with life, less available to the piano. It sits there, beckoning me, but I am not as certain as I once was. It’s like an old friend– you know that they’re there, but you may avoid them for the sake of distance and time between you. You wonder if you still have all that much in common. That’s how I feel about the piano.
The piano shows me that though we value a thing, we can distance ourselves from it and sometimes forget it altogether. We may discuss it, we may remember it somewhat, but we haven’t made the time in our lives to give it priority. Though I love it, I do not make time for it. I have been working to create an atmosphere in my heart where I can put music and the love that dwells in it as a priority, but it’s difficult when papers need to be written and dishes cleaned… when errands must be run and I want to spend some quality time with my husband. But deep down, I have to make this time, because it’s important to connect with the soul of it. To embrace the feelings that only music can bring me as it flows through me. To remember it for the next generations.
Something else it has shown me is a bit harder to deal with–though I love it, and I still consider myself a pianist, if I want to go back to it I must go through a painful fire of procedure. Earning my way back to my intimacy with it. My fingers have lost quite a lot of their former dexterity, and I must risk sounding like a novice without any experience as I gain that back. I must fumble over the keys as a new musician would–trying to navigate, trying to learn how to play in the dark, only the shapes of the keys guiding. This is the price of forgetting my love, the piano never leaves, it just keeps asking me to remember it again.
As I think of my devotion to this lovely instrument, I remember my dedication and commitment in previous times. I must fight the business of life, the errands, the frivolity, and return to a first love of mine. We must declare our loves or we will forget them! We must genuinely show them our affection, or they may be gone and leave us wishing we’d been more intentional. When I first fell in love, with the keys, when I was finally eye to eye with how amazing it was… it was in high school. I’d taken lessons for years, but then a moment occurred when it struck me: what a privilege, what a passion. There are so many things in life like this–we don’t make the time, and we trust that they will always be there for us, eventually. Why should we waste our lives without them? There’s no reason to.