Red Piano

By Cindy Koch

Stepping into another chapter of life, we may pause after the page turn and ask a very important question. Who am I? I remember what I did last week. I recall the conversations I had. I can think of the people, places, and even the feelings of yesterday. But today, I sit and stare at the fresh page and ask that same question once again: who am I?

It seems like yesterday, or five years ago, when we set foot in this new place. It was thrilling and sad, new and old—brand new paint on peeling walls. I unpacked the boxes expecting a surprise, but I ended up unwrapping my old chipped bowls. Each empty room whispered promise of a new beginning but became a ghostly version of the home we just left. The old scratched piano was hidden deep in the moving box pile.

As the months passed, boxes shifted. Her carefully sculpted legs peeked out from the dusty shadows. But my piano’s song was dutifully silenced behind the cardboard prison. There were other things to worry about and much more important things to do. The forgotten piano stood buried in the corner of life where she only dared to wonder: who am I?”

One day, I caught a glimpse of that dirty old piano. It was gross—mud from the move, dust from neglect, and chips in the once beautiful finish. What was I going to do with this? What was she doing here, anyway? How could I make her fit? Could I even bring back her beauty? And maybe it just wasn’t worth the effort.

old piano

Finally, I settled on giving it a try. I decided to focus on restoring my piano to again be a valuable piece. I did what any diligent do-it-yourselfer would do. I researched, tried techniques, watched You Tube videos, read books, and constructed a plan. Pinterest, HGTV, DIY network—it was everything I could do to find answers. I disassembled that dirty dull piano. Piece by piece, I repainted and refinished her. I re-upholstered her old seat. I updated her screws and polished the keys. When I was finished with her, she was a sassy red beauty. She became the focal point of my living room with a fresh new identity.

After some time, my red piano drifted into the background once again. Dust settled on her glossy red top. Scuff marks revealed her original brown finish underneath. Boxes and papers covered her feisty glow. Even after the makeover, she was still left in the lonely corner to wonder: who am I?

And I sometimes ask the same question as my hidden old piano. Who am I? Believe me, there is no lack of advice. Words, friends, YouTube videos, and ten-step plans really want to give me a red-piano makeover. And I will let them. Because I still see my scratched up pile of uselessness. But I want to believe that their DIY advice will make me better. They want to help clean me up and make me pretty. Whether I become red and daring unlike anyone you’ve seen or smooth and shiny like an untouched original, they want to offer their answer to that nagging question: who am I?

Until I heard her voice. My daughter gently pulled out the old red bench. Face to face, my beloved piano stared quietly at my little girl. Then, a simple sad song poured from the keys. I froze in the other room, listening to the beautiful melody. In that moment I realized I had it all wrong.

My piano didn’t need a makeover. She was created to sing. Happy or sad, fast or slow, in the kitchen or on the stage, my piano was created to be played. In my search for her forgotten identity, I neglected the most important question. Who was she created to be? And for my newly red piano, I answered that question badly.

And so, my red piano friends, we have all been repainted with some sort of hope and dream. We have been made over by our friends, our world, or our own unhappy hearts. We listen to the DIY advice to polish up our keys. We yearn for the HGTV episode that refinishes our dings. But if we are honest, we are still left filthy, forgotten, and wondering: who am I?

You are the splintered piano amidst the trash. And we have it all wrong, to simply try to repaint and repurpose our lives. You were created to love. You were created to live. You were created to sing.

baptism

And Christ finds you in the dark corner. He sits down to play.

Don’t paint the piano. It may look good for a while, but it’s only a distraction from our real identity. Rather, encourage each other to endure through the ugliness, dust, and dings.  Who are you created to be? You’ve been made for an eternal song.

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