The other day Sara, of momentsofexhilaration, passed me the baton in Melanie Crutchfield’s Blog Relay for Hope. (And you should definitely go check out both of their posts when you get a chance.)

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.

I’d like to invite Amy of READNCOOK to take the baton and write a post about hope.

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.


18 thoughts on “Hope

  1. Beautiful post—thank you so much! I certainly hope to be the kind of person that brings such good things into people’s lives, like your teacher, Hope. For now, I’m happy with not being a complete disaster on most days. Little by little.

    • Your post about the fear of failure brought a little something good into my life. 😉 And look what you’ve created with this relay. You are far from a complete disaster!

  2. This is a pretty cool homework assignment! Thank you! I like your metaphor for stepping off the stage– that sense of accomplishment that you did it. I think it all ties back to confidence– as you knew that you could play beautifully when you weren’t nervous.

    • No need to thank me! I know you’ll put together a good post. Can’t wait to read your take on it!

      So this is kind of funny… the feeling I associate with stepping off the stage is actually relief that it’s over. Ha! But a sense of accomplishment would totally fit there too and sounds a little better. I think I’ll pretend that that is what I meant. 😉

    • Thank you so much! And I most definitely have not given up on the dream of a grand piano. Right now it’s just a little too expensive. Mostly because we would have to buy a house big enough to hold a grand piano, and big houses aren’t cheap. Ha!

  3. I love this! I too played piano from about 6 years old to high school. It was worse for me though: I didn’t just get nervous about the recitals, I even got nervous about lessons. It made me hate it. Now I have a piano again and I just play on my own and I seriously LOVE it. Hope must have been an amazing teacher to make you so comfortable 🙂

    And as the the postpartum stuff – I hope it gets better soon!

    • What a bummer! I could see how that wasn’t very much fun. Glad you’re able to find some enjoyment in it now!

      As for the postpartum stuff – it is getting better. It’s just a slow process, and patience is not one of my strong suits. 😉

  4. I never knew you could play the piano but I bet you’re excellent at it. Maybe if you bought your piano now you could play it to soothe some anxiety and also calm Ruby! I have hope for you that your calm will come back.

    • Eh, I’m sure I’m pretty rusty at this point. I haven’t REALLY played in years. But yeah, I need to get a piano. I’ve been talking about it for years but have been too lazy to shop for one. I do think it would help with the anxiety if I could actually find the time to play it!

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