Keep On Playing… Hello Hump Day readers. I hope your Thanksgiving celebration tomorrow is uplifting and, of course, tasty…and I hope you will enjoy this musical devotion as well. I have been a musician since 3 years old on the piano, so a story I read this morning caught my attention. I asked the writer, Stevie Hendrix, for permission to share it with you all (you Norwegians will love this!). He writes:
“I recently discovered a helpful metaphor about resting in who God made us to be when my dad and I were enjoying a long-anticipated father-son trip to Norway. At the end of our trip we had dinner at a restaurant—the Maren Anna near the tip of the Lofoten Archipelago. A snowstorm had just blown in, so we were two of only 9 people dining including the manager and 1 waiter. The storm blustered outside; inside the butter and garlic and fresh-from-the-water fish perfumed the air, and the quiet chatter of our fellow diners cushioned us. It was a meal for the ages. When we finished, I noticed a piano up against the wall. To me, a piano is like a living thing…so I asked the waiter if I could touch the keys and he said, “Sure, you can play it if you like, too.” I’m not good at it, can’t read music, but I love to play…quietly I began to play one of my songs, losing myself in the experience.
After a few minutes, the restaurant had gone quiet. The room was now silent except for the song I was playing. And just like that, a wave of nervousness slammed into me. My fingers began to tremble, and I thought of all the mistakes I could make. I almost stopped playing but I told myself: “No. I’m not going to be nervous. I’m going to play my song as best as I can.” And there, in that remote village close to the Arctic circle and in the middle of a snowstorm, a personal miracle took place. I felt a rush of confidence come over me as I played, and a delicate presence seemed to fill the room. When I finished my song, I heard Dad and the other 9 people cheering and clapping and smiling. The end of this time was the most important when my dad said, “You know, when you were playing in there, it felt like God’s presence filled the room.” I replied: “I could feel it, too Dad!—do you think others could too?” He assured me they could and said it was the most special night they’ve had in years.”
This special story reminds me of myself one time up in Glacier National Park. I sat down on an antique beautiful Chickering piano and the many people in the lodge, sitting around a huge circular fireplace said “play it” so I did—somewhat quietly; but then they started singing and asking for songs and the room was no longer quiet! For an hour-plus, we sang and laughed. Those ‘oops’ I had on less familiar songs had not annoyed any of them, but for me, in my own mind all I could think of was “that was a mess.” Yet, I was buoyed with their enthusiasm and singing. My love of playing and singing with them reminded me of a powerful Scripture God gave to the Apostle Paul who was wrestling with a painful hip that he had asked God several times to take away. In 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 (NLT) Paul writes: Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”
I admit I still have my ‘oops’ as I play the piano to this day but, since the great Arthur Rubinstein reiterated “mistakes make me better” I feel vindicated! But more than that, I find a very important truth in Hendrix’ and my stories: when I play I am resting in God who is working through my fingers on the ivories and with God working in me, I am enough!
In this crazy world, we are overwhelmed with problems and how to fix them. It’s hard to rest in God’s peace when we feel out of control. How can we make a difference in our and other’s lives? Yet, when I sit down to play, I feel God’s presence, I feel his warmth on my fingers and then I get lost in the music and somehow problems melt away.
So, be willing to take something simple, something kind, something heartfelt, and offer it to God and others because that is enough! God promises that even in our weakness God is sufficient and God is enough. God works through whatever offering we can give. As Stevie Hendrix summed up his Norway experience, we too can say: “If you’re waiting for the day when you’ll feel like you’re enough—lean in now—that day is today. You are enough because God is enough.” I think we can all rest in that, AMEN.