The very first song I played for my high school choir was Dry Your Tears, Afrika. I will never forget it because it was so difficult. I remember saying I needed to apologize to the piano after I played it because I was pounding so hard. For years I’ve wished that I had kept a copy because I wanted to play it again. Maybe if you play classical piano, you know the ache of needing to play something. I guess I have just missed it. But last night Jason actually found it for me! Guess what I’ve been doing today? Here’s a clip of it all coming back to me: Dry Your Tears, Afrika – Clip
My fingers are super happy. And there’s a story behind this that needs to be told. I did not volunteer to play this song. The thought of that is laughable. I was sitting among the crowd of altos in choir, minding my own business and blending in as usual when my choir teacher looked right at me and said, “I want YOU to play this song for the choir.” I about fell out of my chair. Is she talking to me? I’m wallflowering-it up over here as usual. How did she even know I played? How did anyone know? I could not have been more confused but I reluctantly took the song home.
Come to find out my piano teacher, Mrs. B., had introduced herself to my choir teacher in the grocery store. One thing led to another and, next thing you know, I was tasked with playing the most difficult song I had ever played for an entire choir in front of a huge crowd. I was quite upset with my piano teacher. First of all, she blew my cover. I wasn’t allowed to be a wallflower anymore. Second of all, there was no way I could play a song like that! It was much too difficult. No, I couldn’t do it.
But… I DID. I’m sure my family got really tired of hearing this song over and over again. I worked very hard and what I didn’t need to work on came naturally and it was a huge success. I was never allowed to hide again. I played multiple songs for every concert after that. I knew there was no way on earth I could do it… but Mrs. B. knew that I could. I surprised many people that night, no one more than myself.
That experience changed my confidence. Granted, I am still not nearly a confident person, but you should have seen me prior to this. Now, I finally had a name and a face. My talent was no longer hidden and I will always be grateful to Mrs. B. for believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself.
Sometimes that’s what we need, isn’t it? We need someone to believe in us when we’re having trouble believing in ourselves. I’ve been there for quite some time- struggling to believe. Maybe more specifically, struggling to hope. Hope doesn’t make sense to me. I hope for heaven every day but that’s the only thing I seem to be able to hope for, and maybe that’s okay. But why do things seem so dark if hoping for heaven is enough? That may be a question for another post. But these ever-present questions discourage my hope and belief. Why hope for anything in this life if there’s a chance it will just crush you? Why believe things will get better when there’s a good chance they won’t? It hurts too much. I can’t seem to let myself believe right now, but I know there are people believing for me. I’m grateful for that. As long as they know things can get better, part of me knows they can too. I remember the music story and how absolutely certain I was that I couldn’t do it and I am encouraged. Mrs. B. saw something I couldn’t see… the gift, the spark of talent in me. I pray there are people who still see a spark in me, the gift of life that must still be in there for some reason. Otherwise, I wouldn’t still be here. Maybe if the spark is fanned enough times, I’ll see the flame… and believe.
“One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick. Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven'” (Luke 5:17-20).
Thank you to those who continue to carry me, believe for me, and hope for me. I pray that you don’t get tired of fanning that flame until my stubborn soul believes there is still life in me. I will never be able to thank you enough on the day when I finally pick up my mat and walk.
Song I’m feeling: Dry Your Tears, Afrika (This is the full version, the same version we did, complete with percussion and piano solos! Love it!)