He had already spent thirty minutes trying on the various brands and styles of athletic shoes. My thirteen-year-old son was having a hard time making up his mind. Knowing his cautious and deliberate nature, I wanted to give him the time he needed to be sure of his decision so I told him I was going to try out the white piano displayed in the front of the music store next door.
By the time he made his final selection and stepped out into the mall, there was a small group of bystanders listening to me play a few of the classical tunes I knew by heart. Silently he stood watching as I joyfully played whatever song came to my mind. “Mom,” he said looking at me soberly, “You need a piano.”
I had started piano lessons in the third grade. My parents, who both played by ear, wanted my sister and me to be classically trained so they sacrificed time and money to provide that benefit. There had always been a piano in our home as I was growing up and there were very few days that I didn’t put in my practice time for an upcoming lesson or just sit down and play for sheer pleasure. The piano for me was like a comforting, embracing older relative who lived at our house and always welcomed me with open arms. It allowed me to express my emotions and accepted them all without judgment. The piano was my friend.
It allowed me to express my emotions and accepted them all without judgment.
After I married I took advantage of opportunities to play pianos wherever and whenever I could but I missed the comfort and familiarity of having my own piano. After some years, I began to search the newspapers for a used baby grand that we could afford but generally if they were within our budget they needed repairs and rebuilding that made them too costly. I finally laid the pursuit aside as something that would just have to wait.
The Mother’s Day after the shoe shopping venture in the mall with my son, our family had been to church and a nice lunch and was returning home for a restful afternoon. At the time we lived on ten acres with a driveway that was a quarter of a mile long. We were all singing in the car as we turned and started down the drive. Suddenly I hushed everyone’s voices and in alarm declared, “I think we’re being robbed!”
An unmarked van was parked in our driveway and I was certain they had been emptying our house of its contents while we were away at church. Right before I went into full blown all out panic mode, two men emerged from the back of the van pushing a beautiful white piano which they then maneuvered down a ramp and right onto my driveway!
I hushed everyone’s voices and in alarm declared, “I think we’re being robbed!”
With my heart still pounding from the thought that we were being burglarized, I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or to burst out in tears. But when I looked at my husband’s beaming face all I wanted to do was hug him then run to touch my beautiful new piano.
It’s been twenty-seven years since that Mother’s Day piano arrived at my house. It has moved with us to Alaska and back to the Lower Forty-Eight. That thirteen-year-old boy who helped convince his dad that mom needed a piano is now a forty-year-old man and his three small children love to play on that piano when they come to my house. It is one of the things that hold great sentimental value for me. Not just because I love music and enjoy playing but more importantly because it represents a family – my family – who heard and understood the notes of longing within my own heart.
I am happy to say that son of mine inherited his grandparents’ ability to play by ear. By that I don’t mean that he plays a lot of musical instruments, because he doesn’t, but what he does do is listen to the tone of what people are saying. He hears not just their words, but their hearts, reads not just their body language, but tries to read their feelings as well. Standing in the music store that day, he heard the song of desire which played beneath the melody on the keyboard I played. And being heard and understood is ultimately the best gift of all.
I wish for every mother a husband and children who hear, see and understand her but unfortunately that is not always the case. Sometimes moms are overlooked, taken for granted and not given the appreciation they deserve. That saddens me but I take comfort in knowing there is a God who affirms, cherishes and applauds every effort of every mom He has ever known.
Being heard and understood is ultimately the best gift of all.
I love the words of Psalm 139:1-6.
- O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
- You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thoughts from afar.
- You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
- Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O Lord, You know it all.
- You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me.
- Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, It is too high, I cannot attain to it.
Be assured He hears the silent sounds of your heart and knows the thoughts you may never have given voice. He sees you, Beautiful Mother, and according to Zephaniah 3:17, He takes great delight in you and rejoices over you with singing. Listen for those notes of praise for a job well done and rest easy in the care of the One who sees all.