Monday, May 15, 2017

The Piano

April 29, 2017

So, I have this piano. It was my mom’s and I inherited it because at one time I played the organ. Truth is I hated playing the organ because I wanted to play the piano, but because the piano was at my grandma’s house and the organ was at my house, I was forced to accept playing the organ or not playing an instrument at all. But I learned when your heart is not into something, your mind fills it with resentment, regret, anger, fear and the list goes on. You resent that someone dictates what you can and cannot do. You regret that you never pushed through or forced the issue to get what you wanted. You feel anger towards yourself and the one that stopped you from pushing forward in the first place. Finally, you let fear keep you from following your heart or trusting what is in your heart. This is how I lived a lot of my life, but then there was the other side. The “Hyde” to my “Jekyll” The side that held out hope against hope that one day I would get past this or that, that someday I would make beautiful music on this piano. This is called ambivalence, but I call it Hell!

But the thing is, I may never be able to play the piano like my mom. She was gifted and talented and obedient to the practice that made her a talented pianist. I was not that obedient or talented when it came to playing the organ or even now trying to play the piano, but I still loved the music. I loved to be a part of something so eloquent and beautiful as hearing the songs played by my mom. It makes my heart sing and isn’t that what Love is supposed to do?  Make your heart sing! But in order to make our hearts sing or someone else’s heart we need to be able to play the music on whatever we have been given and with what we have left. There is a world-renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman who on November 18, 1995 at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City gave a performance of a lifetime, but more than that a lesson in perseverance and acceptance. If you know nothing about Mr. Perlman, in brief he was stricken by polio as a child and was fitted with braces and had to use crutches to assist him in walking. When he would enter the stage, it was quite a process and ritual that would take some time for him to get situated so that he could play. On this particular night after he had settled, nodded to the conductor and began to play, a string on his violin broke. The audience gasped in horror as they knew one could not play a violin with only three strings and they anticipated that Mr. Perlman would not be able to continue but would have to leave stage to get the violin repaired so that he could finish the concert. But much to the surprise of everyone, this did not happen. Mr. Perlman closed his eyes, then opened them, nodded to the conductor and proceeded to play where he had left off and according to those in attendance played one of the most beautiful, powerful and passionate concerts of all time. When the concert was finished, Mr. Perlman stood and addressed the crowd with these words: "You know, sometimes it is the artist's task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left."

Much of my life, I have lived in the mindset of the audience. In horror when something bad happens, thinking the worst, thinking of the possible failure, thinking I could not make music with what I have left. Because I need to make music with what I have been given, and truth is I sometimes fail miserably at this. I have not totally learned, how to play beautiful music with the instrument I have been given. The life I have been given, because I am stuck in the mindset that I am nothing or can do nothing unless I have a complete instrument. When I do let, this mindset go and just play on with what I have been dealt, others see and hear the beautiful music and are inspired and energized and hopeful that they too can still make music.

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