Friday, February 27, 2015

Do you really want that prayer answered?

Frances at her mother's piano.
I did a concert recently where I incorporated an arrangement on the piano that I probably haven't played since high school.  It's the old song "My Tribute" by Andrae Crouch.  It was Dino Kartsinokis' arrangement and has always been one of my favorites.  It pretty much uses every key on the keyboard - maybe that's why I like it. I got the feeling people really enjoyed it.  I think it was partly due to the fact that I dedicated it to my mother who passed away in September of 2014.  In fact, it was a poignant moment for me when I got a standing ovation and I could feel the tears wanting to rush out of my heart into my eyes.  It was a special moment.

You see, my mother had always prayed for a piano player.  Apparently, she longed to have live music in the house and she was especially fond of piano music.  I learned to play on the piano she purchased for herself as a young woman.  I still have that piano and now that she's gone, I don't want to part with it.

I was the final child of five and I think by the time I came along, life was so busy that it must not have crossed her mind to have me take piano lessons like the other children did.  In fact, between 1966-1976, she lost 2 sons and both of her parents.  In that same decade, she got spinal meningitis and that set her health on a course of many tough years.  She had to have a shunt put in her head and every time that didn't work, she couldn't function.

One day while staying at an Aunt's house because my mother was ill, my Aunt overheard me playing the piano (by ear) and called my mother.  "Bertha, you must have Frances take piano lessons - I think she has a gift".  Fortunately, my mother took her advice and started me on piano lessons.  I was in sixth grade.  I loved it.  I practiced by the hour...always working toward perfection.

This week as I was reflecting, I realized something.  My mother prayed for years and finally got an answer to her prayer.  But that meant some sacrifice on her part.  She had to pay for my lessons, take me there every week, sit out in the car and wait while I had my lesson and allow me time to practice. I remember many times later in life she would tell me that she felt it was her place to cook for the family and therefore, she would do most of the cooking and let me go practice.

To this day I'd rather practice than cook, clean, read or do anything else (....well...except maybe ride my motorcycle).

She gave up a lot for many years (and more) to see this through.  When I begged to do a recital and invite my friends - she made sure we had a nice reception with special foods and beautiful flowers to grace the table.  That was her contribution.

Not only do I believe she prayed my gift into existence, but I believe she gave her prayers "feet" when she was willing to do everything it took to make sure she had a piano player.

It makes me wonder about some of the things I pray for.  How might it change my life if I received the answers I'm hoping for?  Am I willing to sacrifice things to see those answers happen?

This was the last time I played for her.