Martha sat down at the piano yesterday afternoon and played.
Not the Praeludium, or the Pathetique, or any of the myriad other songs she has memorized.
Not one of the songs she is currently working to master. No, no piano book on the music stand at all.
She sat down, placed her hands on the keys, stared quietly ahead for a moment, and then began playing. She felt her way up and down the keyboard, through broken chord progressions, weaving her way into and out of new melodies. No thought of where to begin, or really of where she was going. Just Martha and the piano in a beautiful, easy, elegant dialogue.
Yesterday, Martha crossed some invisible line from playing the piano, playing what was written...to simply playing. And it took my breath away. I stood in the kitchen, transfixed, straining to hear every note. My chest tightened with the weight of some inexplicable joy. My heart felt like it was dancing.
Later, yesterday evening, the writing group at Grace met in the parlor behind the sanctuary to map out our next series of articles. Martha had ridden in early with me so she could practice the hymns for the evening service - she loves every opportunity to play on the beautiful piano at the church! Tunes of familiar hymns crept softly under the door, providing lovely background music as we batted around ideas and planned and perused calendars.
As the discussion was winding down, one of our writers sat forward in his chair, tilted his head to one side, and froze mid-sentence. A pause. Then a whisper, "That is so beautiful...I love that..."
Martha was no longer playing the piano...she was playing again. Some magical synapse between her heart and her fingers and the keys and the strings.
I wonder if there is a similar synapse in this life of faith. Some leap from studying and practicing, knowing the composer, learning the "notes" and memorizing the music...to simply playing.
Playing, playing like children.
Playing like children of God.
I can't help but think that when we cross that line, our Father's heart dances.
4 weeks ago