There are going to be a few changes in the concept of this blog. Due to COVID-19, I’m receiving a lot of suggestions that I provide more piano music, and less of the other stuff. The reason for this is because Music has a way of getting people through hard times. Music can comfort and inspire in a way that mere words are not meant to do.
Words have their time and purpose. Many words have been comforting and inspiring, and have transformed the hearts of men and women throughout the history of this earth. But this is a time when largely, words fail me. I don’t know what to say about everything that’s happening. But I know that when I play my piano, I’m saying something to somebody — without even having to open my mouth.
So there will be more music, and it won’t always come towards the end of the week. I’ll try to keep to the Friday schedule, but I’ll also post on whim. It just seems to be the energy of this transition that we all share. I can’t explain why. It is something I feel in my heart.
I’m in the process of preparing a new piano piece. It’s a song by the name of “Him.” No, it is not about Jesus. I was not a believer when I wrote the song. I wrote it when I was 19 years old, and it is part of the first musical I ever wrote. It’s interesting that its name is “Him,” but I did not become a Christian until I was thirty.
You’ll note that there won’t be a youtube video. The nice man named Tom who has been helping me is not going to gather with me at the church, nor am I going to that building to prepare the piece. There may not be videos for a while, because it’s a two person job for me at this stage, and I am only one person, sheltering in place.
In my apartment, however, I own an upright piano. It’s not of the quality of the Baldwin Grand, but it has its own flavor. You may hear background noise, and I’m pretty sure one of the keys just lost its tune. The piano is almost 100 years old. But it will do the job.
Now, if you don’t believe in God, consider this.
About two years ago, I was given a free piano by a woman I hardly knew at the time. She was moving to a new house, owned three pianos, and could not fit them all in. She knew I was a piano player, so she asked me if she could give me a piano.
Prior to this time in my life, I have never owned a piano. Now, at the age of 67, I do. I not only got it for free, but she even paid for the movers to bring it over and place it where it sits right here in my house.
The piano was horribly out of tune. The next day, a 19 year old guy from Kansas happened to be passing through town. He stopped at my church to ask if there were a piano he could practice on. We said: “Sure!”
I then proceeded to hear an absolutely dazzling rendition of the Pathetique by Ludwig van Beethoven. So I approached the young man to query of his experience. He gave me his card, and it turned out he was a piano tuner.
I had previously called the local piano tuner. But he wouldn’t have been able to get to me for six more weeks. This guy not only tuned it, he gave me a 25% discount, and came back the next day for a touch-up. Then he went his way, as he was only passing through town.
So now I had a free piano, freely delivered — and actually freely tuned as well, since a friend of a friend then offered to pay for the tuning. Overjoyed, I sat down at the piano. Something immediately seemed familiar.
“I have played this piano before!” I exclaimed.
But I hadn’t really — I had only played one of its kind:
“My God!” I shouted. “This is the same piano that Dad had!”
Not the same, of course, since my father — the ragtime piano player, Dave Pope — had converted his vintage 1921 Howard piano built in Cincinnati to a player piano. This new one did not have the player. But it felt the same. And more importantly, it played the same.
So I sat down and joyfully played a song called “Him.” For a song called “Him” was composed in 1972 on the spittin’ image of the 1921 Howard upright that I so mysteriously received in 2018.
Is there a God? Maybe not. Could it be coincidence? Odds are astronomically against it. What about the Universe? Just another name for God. Synchronicity? A creation of God. Manifestation? Even the most powerful among us powerful human beings do not have that much power. Besides, I never asked for it, never prayed for it, and never tried to manifest it. It was just dropped in my lap. I had absolutely nothing to do with the arrival of that piano.
“But why does it have to be God?”
Good question. My answer? “God” is just a word. Words have meanings. Ask ten people what the word God means? You get ten different answers. This is why a book was created – was manifested, if you will — by the Universal Spirit Being whom in English speaking countries we call “God.”
That book is the Word of God. God is a Word. “In the beginning,” says St. John, “was the Word. And the Word was with God. And the Word was God.”
And I have found that — unlike other gods — my God keeps His Word.
Now, please enjoy the music of the amazing Pathetique — at a time when every other word has failed me.
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