Ever since then I’ve been wracking my brain, trying to come up with the right words. What does hope mean to me? What do I think of when I think of hope? So far I’ve come up with one idea. I can’t think of anything else, and I can’t get this one thing out of my head. So I’m going with it.
My childhood piano teacher. Her name is Hope.
I started taking piano lessons in third grade and stayed with it until I graduated high school. I loved playing the piano. My parents never had to instate mandatory practice time. As soon as I got home from a lesson I would run downstairs to the piano and have a go at the new stuff.
Playing the piano was therapeutic. If I was mad I hammered out a little Rachmaninoff. If I was sad it was anything in a minor key. If I was stressed out it was Bach. Because it’s impossible to think about anything else while muddling through the finger gymnastics required for a fugue. If I was happy I could play anything.
The only part of playing the piano I didn’t like was the recitals. They made me obscenely nervous. When I look back over my life this is probably the first indication that I had what I’ll call a “tendency towards anxiety.”
I would get so nervous that my hands would shake uncontrollably. Now let me tell you something that might come as a surprise. Playing the piano is much harder with shaky hands. I actually can’t remember a time that I simply worried about playing my recital piece. Instead, I would get nervous that I would get nervous, my hands would shake and I would have to fat finger my way through the performance.
As soon as I finished playing a wave of calm would wash over me, and I would immediately wish I could play my piece again. I played beautifully when I wasn’t nervous.
My best childhood friend got married two years ago. I was a bridesmaid and Hope played the piano. It was the first time I had seen her since I graduated high school. She asked, remembering my dream, if I had a grand piano yet. I had to tell her no. I don’t have any kind of piano. I don’t remember what exactly she said to that, but I seem to recall it sounding a bit like a reprimand.
So I sit here now, writing this post, remembering Hope. My childhood piano teacher. Someone who introduced me to my love. Someone who sat beside me once a week for ten years, teaching me and making me feel at home. My hands never shook at her piano. This is my Hope.
And this is my hope. That there will come a day that feels like stepping off the stage. That the postpartum anxiety will subside and a wave of calm will wash over me. That I will be able to play a little anything on my very own grand piano.
Here are the instructions:
Step 1: Write a blog post about hope & publish it on your blog.
Step 2: Invite one (or more!) bloggers to do the same.
Step 3: Link to the person who recruited you (me, in this case) at the top of the post, and the people you’re recruiting at the bottom of the post.
Melanie Crutchfield will gather up little snippets from people who wrote about hope, so make sure you link back to her as the originator of the relay.