Posts Tagged ‘Gift’

The Piano Man

As I write this I am being serenaded by the piano man … and I am not talking Billy Joel. Our Chinese son, who is sixteen, humorous, gentle and kind (and who makes a mean soup) also plays piano.

Every day, shortly after returning from school, he sits at our piano and tickles the ivories (and ebonies too … who doesn’t remember that song from the eighties? Good ol’ Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder were tickled green(bucks) by that number one hit … but, I digress), and all of the stress of my day fades away.

He is currently playing Yiruma’s “River Flows in You” right now. It is a song with lullaby qualities that make me feel as though I haven’t a care in the world (it is also known as the ‘people’s choice’ for the song to be “Bella’s Lullaby” for the Twilight movie). He also frequently plays Mozart’s Sonata K545, and I feel as though I am on the set of the filming of Pride and Prejudice with the hilarity of poor Jane’s dysfunctional family flitting all around.

I remember the first day, after he moved in, that I realized that China’s got talent. I was making tea in the kitchen when the most beautiful music was playing in my living room. After a few minutes, I realized that I heard a mistake (it must have been a big mistake for me to hear it) in the music that I had thought must be coming from a stereo. I wandered into the living room to see our new son by another mother sitting at our dusty piano, playing in a manner that said he knew what he was doing.

I dropped to the sofa, and tried to pick my chin up from where it had dropped on the floor. All I could think was, ‘we are getting paid to be serenaded by this talented young man? How did we get so lucky?’ So I sat there, surrounded by musical beauty that fed my soul. And when he was done, I thanked him with a standing ovation. He was aghast that I could have heard anything good from his unpracticed fingers.

Music … that was what we were sharing.

Perspective … that was what we were not sharing.

His perspective came from his expectations that he could only be good if he was of the quality of a concert pianist. My perspective came from my lack of expectations upon my afternoon. He surprised me pleasantly. He only surprised himself if he was flawless. He expected perfection. I expected nothing, and was delighted with the music he made.

I still think he makes great music. And I still think that my perspective is the right one … because I (the hearer) heard and more than that, received his gift … imperfect, unpolished, but gift wrapped nonetheless. And I received gladly.

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Sometimes God speaks in whispers, and sometimes His voice yells into my being. I like it better when He yells (it is easy for me to become distracted when trying to hear whispers), but He seems to prefer whispering.

There was a time, a few years back, when He yelled … loudly. I am not sure, looking back, why He was so intent on my hearing His voice. Maybe what He wanted most was simply that it was undeniable that He was pursuing me.

It all started on a bright and sunny fall Sunday afternoon. I was walking with our oldest daughter (about eight years old, at the time). As we walked we talked about various things. The only thing I remember talking about was when I asked her if she would be interested in learning a how to play a musical instrument. I had asked if she might like to learn to play the violin, the guitar, or maybe take voice lessons (notice the smaller size of these suggested instruments … money was tight, and as much as we wanted to provide this opportunity, it also had to fit with our budget).

My daughter’s response was that she would like to learn to play piano (not in our budget). I did not want to discourage her, but I did want her to recognize the enormity of her desire. So, I told her it was an expensive instrument, and that if that was what she desired most, then she should pray and ask God to either make a way for us to get a piano, or that He would take her desire to learn to play piano away. I also quoted (something I do not do ofter or well, because memorizing is a struggle for me), Matthew 19:26, ” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.””

When we returned home that afternoon, I shared with hubby our conversation. The next morning, hubby got a phone call from his mother. She called him (not a regular occurrence) to ask if she could purchase a piano for her granddaughter to learn to play on. He immediately called me, to share in his sense of shock. We decided that we would not share this with our daughter.

Over the next number of weeks we looked high and low for a good, used piano (we did have a conservative budget). It was not an easy task. I cannot remember what the budget was, exactly, I just remember that there was nothing available in any store I visited. Through the hunt we would check in on our daughter, and ask if she was still praying. Every time her response was the same, “everyday, Mom.”

Finally, just weeks before Christmas, a store that I had left our budget with called to say that a piano that met our needs and budget had just arrived. Arrangements were made for it’s delivery. We still chose to not tell our daughter … but I think we told every other living soul around us. I am not sure if it was possible for our daughter to ever realize the excitement and anticipation that this event created for all around her.

Then, on the Friday before Christmas break, it was delivered. She walked into the house, and we put her on the phone with her gift-providing Gramma (so that she could live through the excitement with us). She was led to the piano, blindfolded, and then it was revealed. She was ecstatic! She played, she sang, she played. And we all smiled brightly.

The whole story was shared with her, and we reminded her of the verse from Matthew that was the central point of this adventure. That verse has become her life’s verse (as each of our children have one), but, really it has more meaning to us than even to her.

That season is one I look back on as our ‘with God all things are possible’ season. It is a time that God spoke, loudly, and reminded me of how He is in control of our lives, and how with Him, the impossible for us, happens.

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