Between moving [and dusting] my piano as we cleaned and decluttered and repaired our house to list it for sale and talking to a piano teacher about the merits of starting Annalyn in lessons next year instead of this one, playing the piano – or my lack of it – has been on my mind.


It started because of a rabbit trail. It’s always the rabbit trails.

I opened a new tab for Facebook and just one swipe down the screen took me to a friend’s link to an article. It looked fairly interesting and I was procrastinating, so I clicked. And that article referenced another one, so I clicked there, too. The second article mentioned The Civil Wars, and I thought about how I didn’t know much of their music, even though my cooler friends talked about them a lot.

So I opened another tab for Pandora and created a station called The Civil Wars Radio. It played one song by the duo then immediately switched to Mumford & Sons. And I thought about how I already have a Mumford & Sons station and wondered if I should just add The Civil Wars to my Mumford & Sons station. Then I decided to quit wasting time and to get to work.

As the station played in the background and my fingers typed and clicked, actually finishing a small amount of work, the back of my mind wandered. I thought about how I have half a dozen stations that all end up playing the same songs, and I wondered if that was weird or bad or nothing at all.

After changing laundry and refilling my water glass (the perks of working from home. Yes, it’s glamorous.), I settled back onto the couch behind my laptop. As I pulled up the project I needed to finish, I noticed the song playing was purely instrumental. Actually, it was purely piano.

BAM! It hit me.

I stopped pretending to work and closed my eyes. That made it easier to feel the music and harder for the tears to escape. Still, I had to open them eventually.

When I did, the light was bright and the tears escaped and my heart hurt.

And I thought about how I feel now at Christmas and Easter, how I physically long for choir practice and chords and harmonies and hoarse voices after one more rehearsal.

I remembered the August morning, sitting in a circle with 15 or so other freshman, playing a get-to-know-you game. You know the one, where you say your name and then a word that both describes you and starts with your first initial. Lots of words start with “M,” but I didn’t waste a second thinking of them. I simply said, “My name is Mary and I am musical,” when it was my turn.

Back then that still made sense. I’d done everything music-related I could in high school from choir to band to musicals. I was taking a break from some of that as I entered college, but I knew I’d keep it up.

Except . . . I didn’t.

Well, I did for a while. I sang in the university chorus, and I led worship at the Baptist Student Union. I played piano and sang in the choir at our church, occasionally even singing a solo when the choir director asked me to. One semester, I even scraped up money for piano lessons. The teacher was creepy, though, so I quit.

Since then, I’ve spent several years in my church choir, but I don’t do that anymore. Being a part of the choir at my old church was so much fun – and challenging at the same time, and it’s the reason we stayed at that church a year longer than we probably should have. I still miss it.

As for the piano, well, mine sits in our back room, unused and out of tune. On the occasion I sit down to play one of my old songs, my husband almost always remarks about how he loves it when I play.

What I’d whisper if I could is that I love it, too.

I miss making music. I miss it because it’s who I am – or who I was and who I want to be. I miss it because I never meant to let it go; it just slipped away. I miss it in a heart-aching kind of way that sneaks up and smacks me every once in a while. And when it does, it makes me sad.

My name is Mary, and I am musical. Somewhere, some part of me still is.

Are you musical? What’s something–a hobby, an interest, etc.–that makes you YOU?

What should you watch next?


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