Sunday, April 6, 2008

Piano Keys

April 3, 2008

At the missionary's house down at Bengdale, I eagerly pull up a chair, flip the "on" switch, and slowly place my fingers on the familiar black and white keys. They have a keyboard that can be run on their solar power, and even though it is small, after 7 months, I would play anything.

Piano playing has always been my release and going through the hardest, most exhausting and trying year without being able to escape to a piano has been difficult. As my fingers automatically move across the keys, I can already feel tears forming in my eyes. God, take me away from this place for a little while.

The minutes fly by as I play and play and play....forgotten for the moment are all our problems at the hospital, people dying, people coming and then refusing to pay for treatment. Forgotten are all the hours spent standing at the operating table. Forgotten for now, that I am still struggling to get over malaria again, wondering if the nausea and headaches will ever stop.

"O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds thy hands have made"
God, all these different cultures, languages, and worlds, Tchad, the States, India, Australia...

"I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, thy power throughout the universe displayed"
The millions of stars I see as I lay out on my reed mat at night, the magnificent storms that fly through here in a heartbeat, all a small show of Your power

"Then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee, how great thou art, how great thou art"
Nothing more to say there, God. A midst everything, that is one thing I can say and know to be true with no questions.

As I continue to play, my mind wanders to what it will be like to go home and play on a real piano. A piano where when you push the keys, you can feel the vibration through your fingertips and resonate throughout the whole piano. Where the keyboard doesn't suddenly stop one octave lower.

I think about my piano at home that I've grown up learning to play on with its squeaky pedal.

Or the piano at Milo in the church that I played for hours on, slipping over between classes, praying it was unlocked so I could play by myself in the quiet of the sanctuary with the sun pouring in through the tall windows. Or accompanying the school choir, following Dr. Barnhart's cues, or planning praise music for a worship service with a group of friends, trying to coordinate the piano with guitars and drums.

Then there is my favorite practice piano in the PUC music hall, 4th door on the left that I'd open with my key and pound on for hours before finals. Or the piano in Mrs. Rasmussen's office that I'd go to for my lessons and end up having to reschedule because we'd talk throughout my entire lesson :)

Time's up. Flip the switch again, unplug it, cover the keys with a sheet and head back out into Africa.

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