Piano Lessons

When I was young, I took piano lessons. I remember that my teacher, Mrs. Clark, often held a piano book over my hands so I could not look at them while I played. I had to look forward, at the music notes in front of me, and stay present with those black dots strewn across thin black lines.

When I was practicing a piece, and I missed a note (or many), I had a habit of stopping. I just stopped whatever I was playing, cold. I wanted to start at the beginning again. This would happen repetitively; any time I made a mistake. I would stop and start over. Yet, my teacher consistently directed me to do differently. Every time I made a mistake, she encouraged me to just keep going. To just keep on keeping on – no matter what cacophony came out of that piano. She wanted me to continue on until I had made it through. Once the piece was complete, we would review the mistake, and focus on that specific area until I got it. And then we started from the beginning again, and each time she encouraged me to make it to the end, regardless of my mistakes along the way.

I thought of this today. I notice that I think of it often enough, when I make mistakes, or just when I am doing something and simply afraid of making a mistake. I am so aware that I often cannot start again. There is often no option to just start again, at the beginning. And, I am so aware that my mistakes are sometimes with people. Us humans, we bump into each other every day, sometimes no harm no foul, sometimes egregious harm and devastating consequences. In the face of this, and our fears, I offer up this piano lesson: We can keep our heads up, don’t always worry about the keys, look at the plan in front of us, and keep going, keep going until the end. Keep practicing, and do our best, next time. We can make it through. #TGIF#keepgoing #thework #compassionatereturn

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