FOLLOW-UP TO Interruptions
Easter Sunday, our church music director, a violinist, and my friend arrived at the house at 6:45 am, chauffeured me to church, where we parked in the spot saved for me. Several men waited with a wheelchair. Once inside, they helped me as I managed my crutches to climb the four steps up to the platform. We laughed as I said, left foot first at each step. I sat and adjusted the piano bench, and rested my right purple cast encased leg on a small pillow-topped stool placed under the piano.
When I set my left foot on the sustaining pedal, it twisted my upper body out of a normal position a few inches off-center to the piano.Think of placing your left foot on your car’s gas pedal, and then you will understand my awkward body position at the piano.
I knew my biggest challenge playing Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus came at the end of a 12-minute prelude. At the 8:30 am, and 10 am services I looked out at the church congregation. Every seat occupied with folks, silent, waiting. Our music director nodded for the instrumentalists to begin.
Be still and know that I am at your side came the quiet voice in my mind.
The contemporary arrangement to the spiritual, Were You There, When They Crucified My Lord, began like a soft moan and slowly climbed to its victorious end , He is Alive and He Has Risen, Heavens Gates are Opened Wide.
A hush fell over the congregation. I turned the page to Handel’s, Hallelujah Chorus, the climax music to the a 12 minute prelude, and my biggest challenge to play the four-page score with its non-stop sixteenth notes. The music director nodded to begin playing.
Unable to place my heel on the floor, my normal position to use the sustaining pedal, I felt my left leg begin to spasm from using the ball of my foot for so long. I whispered a quick prayer, “Jesus, take the keys. It is you and me on this one.”
I struck the first Hallelujah notes, the instrumentalists followed, and the congregation stood. Vibrant and joyful, music flowed throughout the hallelujah, King of Kings, Lord of Lords and, He shall reign for ever and ever. Amen!
The joy of the Lord continues to be my strength to walk on the challenging waters, even the musical ones.