tickling the ivories

I played the piano today for the first time in a long time. I used to be really good at piano. Great, even. But then I went to college and stopped practicing and pretty much lost all my ability. It makes me really sad, not to mention mad at myself for letting that happen. My piano teacher is one of the most wonderful people in the whole world, but I always put off going to visit her because I'm terrified she'll want me to play for her, and then she'll be so shocked at how bad I am that she'll cry and think her life's work was for naught. I am exaggerating, but not as much as you might think. On the rare occasions when I do play, when I'm home, I end up very upset because someone invariably comments on how good I am. I know this doesn't sound like something that would be upsetting, but it is, because I am not good. Not anymore. I used to be, but that was a long time ago. And in some weird way that may make sense only in my head, it's offensive to me to think that people think I'm good. It's as if they don't know the difference between what I can do now and what I could do when I was in high school, which is quite marked. Don't they remember? Surely it doesn't all sound the same to them...? It makes me feel like they didn't appreciate it or even recognize it when I really was good. So anway, I don't play much anymore, even when I'm home. But this afternoon, no one was home, and I was feeling both creative, and, apparently, brave. So I sat down at the piano. It was difficult to find anything I could play at first. I knew better than to even look at anything even remotely associated with the word "baroque," which pretty well dismissed most of my repertoire from days gone by. I made my way through a couple of books of hymns that were embarassingly easy, though still enjoyable, and then I came across an interesting arrangement of Peter Cetera's Glory of Love, also known as the theme from The Karate Kid. This piece was perfect for my current skill level: easy enough that I could muddle through it without being totally overwhelmed, but hard enough that I felt like I was doing something that not just anyone could do. It was challenging enough that I experienced the unmistakable sense that I was being allowed a part in something greater than myself, just for a couple of minutes. It's simple I guess, but I had forgotten what that was like. It was beautiful. Praise the Lord for music. I don't know what I would do without it. After Glory of Love, I became a little more ambitious and tried to play some more classical things. This was quite difficult, but in a strange way which I had never really experienced before. It was as if my fingers remembered, just a little. It was as if they knew that they used to know how to do this, but they couldn't quite tap into that part of their memory...as if there existed the possibility that at any moment, everything might come rushing back to them. But, of course, it didn't. I don't know if any of this makes sense (and if it doesn't, it's not going to be the first nonsensical thing I've thought today), but it seemed like some sort of metaphor for my life right now. It's not just my fingers that aren't as strong as they used to be--it's every other part of me, too. My heart (figuratively, I mean, though literally as well) isn't as strong as it used to be, but it does remember a time when it was strong and vibrant and passionate and full and overflowing...and there is a possibility that, at any time, it will be again. And that--the knowledge that I will get better--is what gets me through the day.

"Sometimes I just forget
Say things I might regret
It breaks my heart to see you crying
I don't wanna lose you
I could never make it alone..."