I remember the day my dad first brought it home. He’d picked it up at a second hand shop, near a local military base, where he was working. I can’t even tell you why he bought it, and it’s too late to ask. I never really thought about it until now, but I’m sure glad he did. My brother and I took turns, but it eventually found a home in my room.
The old accordion was my best friend while growing up. When I felt lonely or depressed I would get it out from it’s parking place in my closet. I would sit on my bed, playing for hours on end. I always felt better after a session like this.
When my editor asked me to write an article on the subject of music my thoughts raced through several experiences that I’ve enjoyed. The memories of the Christmas and Easter plays that I’d been involved in as a choir member always bring a smile to my heart. I recalled the thrill when I sang Shine Jesus, Shine with five thousand other choir members at a crusade. I remembered the praise songs that we sang just this past Sunday morning. It was then I realized that my most meaningful musical memories had to do with that old accordion.
I’d play all different types of music but I always seemed to end up playing a spiritual song or hymn. Of course my knowledge of this music was limited to songs I’d heard while listening to an old tube type radio. On a Saturday night, with a wire coat hanger for an antenna, I could sometimes hear stations from as far away as Wheeling, West Virginia. Even though my understanding of God in those days, was not the true relationship that I have today, my thoughts always seemed to turn to Him.
When playing that old accordion I would frequently get lost in the music, eventually thinking of only spiritual things. As the feelings grew stronger I would play a little slower to emphasize a note or a line. At some point, one that I can’t readily identify, I realized that playing this music was my form of prayer. It keeps my mind from racing and helps me to focus on God. It happens so subtly but it happens.
A week or so ago, for reasons unknown at the time, I dragged the old accordion out of the closet and brought it down to the living room. There it sat for days waiting for the right moment, whenever that is. One morning, without planning, I opened the case, adjusted the straps and began playing. Starting off as usual with a few country tunes I’d heard on the old radio. Next I’d play my patriotic repertoire eventually leading to the Battle Hymn of the Republic. These were followed closely by, How Great Thou Art and ultimately, It Is Well With My Soul.
I no longer suffer the loneliness and depression experienced in childhood. I am now His child with a new mind and a changed heart. I suddenly found myself playing slower and softer. I had reached that state of prayer and praise that I mentioned earlier. It was no longer the old accordion and me. It was my God and I. My soul speaking to Him and my heart listening to His voice.
Eventually I would return the old accordion to its case and resume my duties. A different person, I believe, after having spent some quality time with my Creator, His gift of music, and my melody of praise.