Monday, April 10, 2017

That Other Talent I Once Had

Today in church we sang a hymn that really hit close to home. It was one I haven't sung in a while, and as we sang, I was flooded with emotion.

Though my posts would never really indicate this, volleyball and basketball weren't my only loves. Music was/is another. I am obsessed with music. I love to listen to it, find new bands, discover different genres. I love to sing. I don't claim to be Taylor Swift by any means, but I can carry a tune. I even had a classmate tell me I had a "really nice alto", to which I thanked him, then promptly told him to shut up. I love harmonize, and love when I find a soprano at church whose voice blends well with mine. I also love to harmonize with Ed Sheeran, James Bay, Shawn Mendes, and One Direction (to name a few). I'm way too embarrassed to sing alone in front of large groups of people, but get me alone, and I will serenade you.

I also love to play the piano. I have played since I was 8 years old, took lessons until I was a sophomore, was called to play the organ in church, and have held various pianist callings. Until about 5 years ago. You know, when I was diagnosed with Scleroderma. I slowly quit playing due to painful ulcers on my fingers, then as my hands started to become "claw-like", it became harder and harder to stretch my hands to play chords. I quit playing for a good while, and only recently started to play again because I was asked, "Do you know how to play the piano?"

I never know how to answer that question, because, yes, I do know how to play the piano. In fact I was at one time really good at it. I can sight read pretty well, and could teach myself to play various songs in short amounts of time. I just have a hard time playing now days.

Today was a hard reminder of that. The song that we sang is "How Great Thou Art". First, AWESOME harmony in that song. The alto part is amazing. Second, this is a song that I used to play ALL THE TIME. Marvin Goldstein has a gorgeous arrangement of it. My last piano teacher let me borrow "Gift of Love" and I gave it back to her very well worn. It is a very difficult song, and took me quite a while to learn it. I would take it over to Gram's house, where I spent a lot of hours practicing and playing for her. This song was one of her favorites. Here is the version in the hymn book.

As I sat there thinking about how I spent playing this song, and the hours spent practicing, I was just reminded of the talents I once had. Playing the piano was one of my greatest escapes. I would play song after song on the piano, doing what I could to perfect each song that I played. The harder the song, the better. I have a couple of Marvin Goldstein's books, and wish I could still play them. Here is the arrangement by Marvin Goldstein. Just a slight different, right?
Luckily I can still kind of play, just don't expect many chords. My fingers only stretch so far, and the angle my hands are taking makes it difficult to play multiple keys at once. I can play most hymns, and unless you have a really good ear for music, you wouldn't be able to tell that I am not playing all the notes. I figure as long as I have the bass and soprano, we should be okay.

It's hard looking back on the things that you were once able to do. I try not to do it because it can be super depressing, but it is still hard, especially when you were good at something. I'm finding it harder to find things that I am still good at. I guess Sarcasm & Pessimism will have to do!