My husband, John and I are currently serving on Sundays in a small Branch in our LDS Stake here in Orem. We attend church each week with a small group of friends who all live in an apartment complex in our neighborhood. Because there aren’t many of us, we all get put to work on Sundays. One of the jobs they’ve asked me to help with is playing the piano in Primary with the children and in Relief Society with the women. Today as I played, I marveled that there are still notes in my brain that my fingers can play as I read the music.
I took piano lessons from Mrs. Krehbiel when I was a child. I walked to her house after school every week for about 10 years, until I graduated from Reedley High. My eyes have read many notes and my fingers followed. I haven’t played much in the last 30 years or more. When they asked me to be a pianist, I was willing, but not sure if I was able. Today as I played song after song, I marveled that the notes still went into my brain and still came out my fingers. And they sounded beautiful, at least to me.
Mrs. Krehbeil’s house:I thought today as I played, that those notes have been stored in my heart and hands for a long long time, unused. But because I once put them there, they stayed somewhere in my brain. Something about the daily routine of practicing notes over and over, caused them to lodge in some recess in my mind. And even though I’ve not played much for a very long time, those notes were still in there.
It made me wonder what other things have gone into my mind–books, music, words, feelings, sights, sounds, touch–all sorts of things that may have once been familiar, or even practiced–but that are now forgotten, may still be in there somewhere.
I would guess that things I practiced over and over are saved and kept, even though I may not readily recall them. Or maybe there are habits I’ve repeated over the years that have lodged in my heart and mind, like attending church, reading scriptures, listening to good music, or reading inspiring words.
Today as I played simple children’s songs about trying to be like Jesus, I thought that my life is probably a compilation of many acts and deeds and even notes, that are long forgotten, but together, they are who I am. I am a composite of all that I’ve practiced or read, or done. I am made out of those things. They are in me, somewhere. They are who I am. And I am doing things right now that 30 years from now may be forgotten, or unused, but these things will shape who I am and who I will be then.
Claire came home for dinner today: pot roast, potatoes and carrots, the traditional Sunday meal that fills the house with good smells. After dinner and a short nap, she sat down at the piano and started to play an exquisite Brahms Intermezzo, Op. 118. No. 2. It’s one of my all-time favorite piano pieces. It’s absolutely beautiful. As she read the notes she hasn’t had time to practice since going off to BYU a few years ago, I thrilled that the notes are still in her too, and that the hours and hours of practicing she did from age 3, until she graduated from high school, are still in her heart and hands. They are now a part of who she is.
I love the feeling that we are creators. We can create who we want to be by what we put into our minds and hands and hearts. And, even after many years pass, those things are still there, lodged in the recesses of our minds. And when we give them a chance to come out, they may. I hope the things that went in years ago, were good and uplifting and wholesome and enlightening, because they have shaped and are shaping who I am today.
Below is an obituary I just found for dear Mrs. Krehbiel, my piano teacher. It looks like she blessed many many lives besides mine. I am grateful for the notes she helped me learn and grateful that today some of those notes were still in my fingertips.