If you've been inside my house at any point in the past few months you'll know that my old upright piano's been in a rather unlikely place: the kitchen. It was first pushed into there to protect it and to clear workspace during a home remodel, one which was unfortunately put on hold partway through. I can count on two hands, possibly even one, the times I've sat down and played since then. It's waited there, lonely, patient, and awkward, and done its brave best to blend inconspicuously with the old yuck-colored walls. I've managed not to use my piano as a butcher block while it's been kitchen-bound, but it has held a few grocery sacks now and then, poor thing. I don't know how many of my friends and family members by now have chuckled at its undignified placement. Do pianos have feelings?
Rob did some touch-up painting for me in the living room last week, and today I took care of the few remaining obstacles to moving the piano back to where it belonged. We carefully pushed and pulled that megaton of music and put it against a whole new wall, the widest uninterrupted one we have. My piano looks so much happier now. I think its self-esteem is already returning. And it appears to hold no hard feelings.
While I worked on last bits of preparatory cleanup I listened to the News from Lake Wobegon podcast, caught up on some shows. I heard some terrific Gospel singers perform a song that I hadn't heard in a long time. My heart jumped when I realized what I was hearing because it's a song with great personal significance for me; it was an unexpected healing balm that came to me during a very difficult time of my life, years ago. And it was something I needed very badly to hear and feel again today. The timing, just like when I first heard this song, was surprising, and couldn't have been better. It found me then and today as an answer to prayer. Rough, raw prayer that probably wouldn't sound like prayer to anyone but God.
Would you like to listen to my song? If you don't already have the Adobe Flash Player on your computer you can download it for free. Then visit this link and wait through the intro stuff. The song begins just before 92:00. It gets broken up by Garrison Keillor's monologue, but stick with it till the end (and click the play button if it tries to stop before the end). It's an absolutely gorgeous version of a hymn that some of you will find familiar. I grew up loving this kind of music thanks to my mother and my southern roots.
I listened to it over and over.
After Rob came in to help with the piano-moving and we got it carefully rolled and placed just so, he went back out to the studio and I was alone with my piano. I pulled out a hymnal, sat down in front of the keyboard, and played my own very rusty version of "Come, Ye Disconsolate." Second time through I sang—if you can call it that—with my horrible Hollywood smoker-style sick voice. I made music that probably wouldn't sound like music to anyone but God.
But I knew he was listening.