It’s crazy how whenever I lose sight of my dreams, God brings them back to me. I may forget, but He never does.
The other night, I was at a church service casually observing the keyboardist up front, when it hit me: I love playing the piano. Not the keyboard, but the piano.
The way a keyboardist strikes the keys is completely different than the way a pianist does. The feel of the instruments are different––the depth of the keys, the speed of the action. Not to mention the sound. The warmth of a piano is impossible to produce on a keyboard. The range of volume and color just isn’t there.
One week ago, God told me, “You are a pianist, so you shouldn’t settle for a keyboard. You should ask for a piano.”
So I did. I asked. (Something that is often challenging for me.)
Only a week later, however, I had forgotten about that conversation.
This time, God went even deeper.
It’s been several months now since I’ve touched a really good quality piano. (I practice on uprights of less-than-wonderful quality at my school here in Korea.) When you have to go without something, you learn to cope, so that fact had not bothered me much until this moment, when I suddenly wondered if I would ever have the opportunity to play on a grand piano after this next semester at SNU is over.
(I had the faith to believe God could provide me access to an upright piano in the future, but not a grand––that would be something extravagant, unnecessary, and impractical.)
Somehow the thought that I might not, seemed unbearable.
So I went through a time of surrender.
I know God is calling me to stay here in Korea, and if that means not getting to play on any good pianos, I accept that. However, God quickly ushered me from surrender into childlike faith.
He is the one who put these desires in my heart and who keeps reminding me of them, so I should ask Him to fulfill them. That was how the thinking went.
Then He took it a step farther. “Classical music is not outdated and irrelevant. It’s not just a private quirk. Stop devaluing this essential part of who you are. This is a unique gift that has unique potential. There is a specific audience that you can reach with your music that no one else can reach.”
I got a Master’s degree in Piano Performance,
but sometimes I believe this lie that I only did that because it was the path of least resistance. I was good at piano, so it was the easiest way to go.
I somehow forget how my deep passion for music was the only thing that got me through college and grad school. I forget how hard I fought––wrestling with myself and my insecurities, persevering through failures and humiliations, pushing through frustrations and physical limitations––to understand music at its deepest level and express my heart in its fullest, barest form.
I never had ambitions of being a performer.
I never deluded myself that I could make a living that way. And I liked teaching, so why not just do that?
But just because you can’t make a living doing something, doesn’t mean you should stop doing it. And just because I don’t know all the hows or whens of how I could find access to a decent piano to practice on, much less venues through which I could perform, doesn’t mean I should let go of this dream.
So instead of squashing my hopes as I have done with so many things in the past, setting my expectations low as a form of self-protection, I lift up every hope and dream to the Lord.
I ask, without fear, for the things I truly want, believing God cares, believing they matter, believing it’s okay to be honest and want things that seem too big.
It’s okay to ask. To simply ask without knowing what will come.