Sherri Gragg

Juggler of words and children…collector of pottery shards

The Final Score

 I took piano lessons for seven years as a child, but I was not faithful to practice as I should and as  result did not become the pianist I could have been.  For years afterwards, I sat down before those black and white keys only occasionally but as I entered my late thirties, I began to long for more music in my life.

And I began to have regrets.piano keys

Night after night, during the hour between dinner and bedtime for my children I began play.  I would sit at our old upright, place the music before me and struggle to coax my rusty brain and fingers into producing melody.  It was slow work at first, and most likely painful listening for my family.  Persistence paid off however, and I began to make progress.  My husband encouraged me and eventually we decided I would take lessons once again.

This time around, I was determined to work hard and do my best and I made progress rapidly.  Somewhere along the way, I became skilled enough to recognize that old upright was not the sweetest sounding instrument in the world and that no amount of tuning would ever soften its harsh tones.  Privately, I began to long for a new piano and deep within, I dreamed of a baby grand.

One day, I mentioned my dream to my husband.  This man you see, loves me well.  He began to research pianos.  He educated himself on every aspect of pianos and at last found a piano all the way across the United States that caught his attention.  It was an Italian piano by a company named Shulze Pollman.  That year only twelve of them had entered the United States.  It was a fantastic instrument.  The showroom selling it was changing the line of pianos they were selling but could not began selling their new line until this one last remaining piano was gone.  The asking price was about half of retail.

We thought about it and prayed about it.  We have five kids and almost never make large purchases anymore.  We have an almost pathological fear of debt, but we just could not get that piano out of our heads.  Finally, one night I looked at my husband and said, “I think if we let this pass by we will regret it for the rest of our lives.”  He agreed and the next day placed a call.  The piano was ours.

Recently, I have begun tackling the final movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.  Long ago, I mastered the first and most well known movement of this piece.  Then, in just a couple of weeks I nailed the second.  The third movement is a monster all its own.  It is frenetic and passionate.  A wild ride that never slows until it crashes at the end.  The first time I heard it on the radio, I was mesmerized.  The notes flew so quickly that at first I thought it was a duet.

To say the least, it will be a long term project for me and I have already served noticed to my teacher that if I ever master it, I will throw a party in celebration.  I love the challenge and my family is so patient to listen to the same first few scores over and over again.  Certainly, I am optimistic about the piece but deep within, I know that there is a chance it may be beyond my ability no matter how long I work on it.  It may be that my 38 year old brain has past the point of wrapping around such complexities.  Perhaps, these middle aged fingers so often numbed by the arthritis in my neck are simply incapable of such coordination.

My teacher however, is a wise woman and in addition to the first few scores, she has assigned me one additional stretch of notes:  the final score in the piece.  See, she understands that when a student is faced with a tremendous work, sometimes they need to envision the triumphant last strains.

God understands that too.  For the child of God who genuinely desires to walk in Holiness and experience sanctification, it can be easy to get discouraged.  The flesh is so weak and our hearts such idolatrous, wandering creatures.  With Paul we too often find ourselves sizing up our lives and saying, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?”  Romans 7:24 

Romans 8:22- 23 echoes the struggle with these words: “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”

So, our merciful God shows us the final score of the symphony of our lives.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.  Dear friends, now we are children of God, and piano musicwhat we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.  Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.”  1 John 3:1 -3 

We shall be like him.  The struggle will be over at last because the battle has been won. 

The work right now might be difficult, but the final notes of our song are sweet.
 

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5 comments on “The Final Score

  1. Ee-lin
    April 29, 2007

    I know exactly how that feels. Playing a grand (even if it was just a baby grand) for the first time was such an experience that I will never forget.

    I have never had the opportunity to master the Moonlight; I did the Appassionata as part of a concert piece; but there is something about Beethoven’s compositions that capture the heart and soul. And when you perfect it, you’ll realize just how great the maestro is, and just how much joy music can bring to your life.

    Keep working on it, I’m sure you’ll master the Moonlight Sonata soon!

  2. Pericles
    April 29, 2007

    This post is so beautiful and personal. It just caught and held my attention from the get go. Press in dear sister, and may God continue to bless your very beautiful family in the wonderful riches of His grace! Shalom!

  3. everydaymiracle
    April 29, 2007

    Ee-lin,

    Thank you so much for the encouragement. I am sure victory (both musically and spiritually) will be won measure by measure.

    Pericles,

    I am honored deeply by your comment. It means so much from one who continually offers beauty and inspiration to me through such a wonderful blog.

    Blessings,

    Sherri

  4. Josh
    April 30, 2007

    Wow, Moonlight. Thats a tough one. But oh its got to be worth it.

    About that 38 thing though, music keeps you young. It keeps the brain lubricated–somehow. Especially piano. Our piano tuner looks to be about eighty and he said something similar to what you did. He kind of hobbles in and sets down his tool box but after than, he gets pretty spry and when he sits down to play…even our old spinnet sounds pretty good.

    We have a seven year old and were well blessed to find a teacher who would begin giving her lessons. It’s kind of funny though she really didn’t take it seriously until her Mama started playing again. Anyway, it sounds like you’ve got a great set up for having a whole house full of musicians.

    Any suggestions for a good source for sheet music? Online? Its that country living thing again…

    Josh
    “…the word of God is not bound.”
    –2 Timothy 2:9

  5. everydaymiracle
    April 30, 2007

    Josh,

    I like http://www.musicnotes.com/. It is cool because you can download and print music at home. You can also listen to a sample of a piece before you buy. I spend too much money at this site.

    I could not buy a downloadable (is that even a word?) version of Moonlight however, because it is just too long.

    I hope it works for you!

    Sherri

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This entry was posted on April 29, 2007 by in Bible, Christianity, God, hope, inspiration, music.
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