This is for the college gal- the one who plays the piano every day.
Chances are, you don't know me, and I don't know you. I might recognize your face around campus, but I wouldn't be able to pick you out from a crowd. I have no idea who you are, but I have the strange feeling that I do know you, in a way.
I remember back in September, you and I moved into dorms. I'm on the first floor, so every time you go and play the piano in the basement, I hear you. I hear you loud and clear. Don't worry, though- I love it.
Back in the first month, you were just starting out. I remember. I remember hearing you play slowly through studies and etudes and sonatinas, replaying sections over and over and over to get the fingering right. Some of the pieces you tried to play, I actually recognized them from when I took piano lessons years ago. As you played, I would sit on my bed and move my fingers along to the tune, and when I heard you struggling to find the right note, I would tell you. Aloud. In my room, where you would never hear me. "It's F#. It's F#. It's F#."
But you got better. You began to play pieces that I had played in junior high. It was so neat to listen to you practice for hours and hours. Then, you started to move on. Rather than picking educational material for technical purposes, you began to practice songs. Songs with words, tunes from TV shows, songs that people other than me would recognize. You began to play for fun. It sounded enjoyable; it sounded like a blast.
Pretty soon, you were practicing more than ever. Sometimes you would play the fun stuff, and sometimes you would practice the technical, skill-building stuff. You got better and better. I was amazed at your dedication and perseverance. Playing the same song for weeks, you would bring a song from its first rough play-through to its final, perfected, performance-ready completion.
Now it's March. And I've been listening you play until 1:00AM for the past few nights... and I can safely say that you've far surpassed me. In seven months, I've heard you go from simple beginner's pieces that I played as a seven-year-old, to pieces that are far past my skill level. It's unbelievable. And it's so inspiring.
And it's also crazy! I don't know that I've ever met you. I still don't know which student you are, but I listen to you almost every night. I don't know what you look like, but I have learned so much from you. Your discipline has taught me so much. The fact that you are willing to play the same song from 10:00 PM til 1:00 AM just to perfect the few troublesome notes in the middle makes me think about all the things I give up on so quickly. The fact that you are down in the basement nearly every single day makes me think about how often I push my homework and projects to the night before they're due. I procrastinate, but you dedicate. I avoid, but you attack. I give up, but you press on.
It's so inspiring to me to see that you've completely taken a hold of this talent, and have pushed yourself so hard and so diligently. It's paid off. Your skills have grown more in seven months than mine have in 13 years. Your talent is clearly God-given, because it is not merely a 'knack' for the piano. No, God's given you not only the ability, but the desire, the willpower, the strength, the discipline, the focus, and the drive. It takes more than luck and natural ability. It takes a whole personality of readiness and eagerness, and you have it.
Even in this moment, as I'm typing all this out, I'm listening to your nimble playing below my room. The song you're practicing is insanely difficult, but man, you've gotten good!
I don't know that you'll ever read this, and that's okay. Yeah, it's 10:00 PM but your piece is almost perfect, so I hope you'll practice just a little bit longer. Yeah, I don't know your name, your face, or anything about you, really.
But despite these strange circumstances, dear college gal who plays the piano, I implore you to keep up the good work. Thanks for being my miracle, a miracle seven months in the making. Thanks for reminding me that success is a process. Thanks for reminding me that there is no reward without work. Thanks for reminding me that we will reap what we sow. Thanks for encouraging me as in Colossians 3:23, which says, "Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people."
Thanks for being my detour today.