Apart from the times I’m teaching piano, which I really enjoy and probably provides a distraction, these have been melancholic days for me this week. I’m not certain of the root cause but I can identify 3 or 4 possible contributors.
I’m writing this on September 9th, the anniversary of the day my dad died. I find it odd how that event completely eclipses all the other good events that have happened on that same date: the birth of a son to good friends of ours; the day Tim and I first met. You’d think life and love would be bigger events for the heart, and yet somehow the loss that comes with the death of someone you love overrides all the good that is also there.I’ve been trying to find the balance between acknowledging the grief and remembering the truth of God’s love as in:
- How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.
- “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD who has compassion on you.
- May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise …
This week is also the birthday of my oldest daughter – who lives far away and who I rarely get to see. Our relationship is great, and her life is good where she is. I’m truly happy for her. She’s happily married to a really good man, has a good job, is finishing her last few courses for school, and has a very connected and aware relationship with her Heavenly Father. Yet somehow when her birthday comes around it’s almost as if the distance is magnified and it does a number on my heart.
The third possible contributor happened yesterday; the grand piano that comes with the Conservatory arrived at the church. When the movers carried in the bench I knew I had to alter my expectations. It was rickety, brown and had several stains. This wasn’t going to be a shiny black Yamaha grand piano. There was thick dust on the pedal mechanism that was carried in separately. I went to get a cleaning cloth to keep my body busy while my heart dropped. After the movers left I cleaned the case and the keys. They were filthy. When I lifted the lid a spider’s web was torn apart. This instrument had a story to tell. I cleaned everything I could to discover a trace of beauty in this neglected Heintzman; the polished mahogany finish would have been beautiful many years ago. Then I played a little – it had a really pretty sound. Unfortunately, it must have spent a good part of it’s time in the home of someone who smokes because it has a distinctly bad odor. That’s never good when you’re looking for something lovely.
That night we had our music practice for Sunday’s service so I got to play it for 40 minutes. It has a beautiful sound. Clearly it’s a good instrument with a history; I imagine it was donated to the Conservatory. The tiny plant leaves that are inside the casing have me curious. The serial number is low so I went looking to see just how old it is. And here is a connection for me. It was manufactured in 1929 – that’s the same year my dad was born.
I don’t know if that creates any kind of reaction in your heart or not, but it does in mine. I can’t quite articulate what that reaction or feeling is, but there’s a tender quality to it. This is no mistake I’m certain – for this particular instrument to be given for this particular venue – my Heavenly Father is speaking something to my heart; I just can’t quite tell what. I was alone in the sanctuary then so I played some Debussy, Chopin, Liszt and Bach. It’s a lovely instrument, and this melancholy heart I’m feeling may well be on a journey somewhere, I just can’t tell where. I’m looking forward to Sunday when we’ll be all together worshipping Jesus with this new instrument. I wonder if my heart will still be tender and a little blue.
Then there’s also what may be simple caffeine withdrawal. I’ve finally decided to drink water – a far healthier choice in large amounts. I’ve reduced my coffee intake from 2 cups/day to 2 cups/week and perhaps coincidentally have had 4 days of almost steady headaches. That can wear one down. Today they were less, so I may be over the worst. I don’t know. Have any of you ever done this before? It sure has given me a whole new appreciation for people trying to get over serious addictions.
So that’s where life is for me today. I’m very thankful to be certain that God is not only Sovereign but also good – good in the truest sense of the word.