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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Touch (the sense of touch) (08/05/10)

TITLE: Amazing Grace
By Betty Farrow


The smooth ivory keys felt like silk as she gently rubbed her hands across the keyboard of the baby grand. Seldom anymore did she have the opportunity to touch such a fine piano like this Steinway, let alone play one. She was excited and apprehensive. The scheduled pianist called in sick at the last minute and someone suggested Grace as a replacement. “Just some soft background music while the ladies are gathering and preparing for the final meeting of the conference,” the woman in charge had told Grace. “Don’t worry, they won’t really be listening to you; they’ll be chatting with each other. You’ll play for about 30 minutes.”

Grace was always nervous until her fingertips touched the keys. Then it was if she and the piano became one. With her fingers poised in place, she raised her right pointer finger and struck the first note. Then her left hand gently touched the keyboard and swept across the bass notes. Together her hands moved in harmony, up and down the keyboard, softly filling the room with sounds of warmth and beauty.

She opened with Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, adjusting the touch of her fingers to match the touch of the piano. Her body swayed to the rhythm as she raised her fingers and touched the keys more firmly for the upcoming crescendo to immediately back off to a slight touch for the pianissimo. Deftly and distinctly she touched each triplet and with experience and finesse she fingered to perfection the grace notes. By the time Grace reached the final movement she was completely absorbed in the music, oblivious to those around her.

Grace moved next to compositions by Bach, skillfully caressing the keys as the music in her head touched her soul. It was easy then to make the transition to songs of praise about her God. Always a shy person, Grace often prayed her prayers to the accompaniment of her music. As her fingers touched the keys her heart touched God. Quietly she played through a favorite medley of praise songs.

A large crowd of women had gathered. There was considerable chatter when they first entered the room but the chatter had subsided to a quiet whisper by the time Grace finished the medley. Grace transitioned from A-flat to the key of C with a musical turnaround that required walking down the black keys and gently but firmly touching the white ones. Her performance showed the confidence that only talent and practice could produce.

She had laid out her program well. To conclude, Grace quietly transitioned into a favorite Bill Gaither song, He Touched Me. Tears rolled down Grace’s face, grateful that Jesus had touched her, had changed her from the person she had been—a demanding, self-centered, headstrong piano protégée—to a woman whose goal in life was to serve the living God. At one time her god had included the piano, the stage and the thrill she felt each time she heard the sound of applause.

Grace had walked away from public playing, never wanting the joy of the performance to out shadow the joy of serving God. She spent her days working with children in an inner city school district. She touched the piano daily but only played for herself and God.

It had been five years since Grace had been touched by God’s love and accepted His gift. She had spent time studying His Word. Pastor Dave, the associate pastor at the Community Church, had helped Grace understand that God had given her the talent to play and she could and should use it for His glory. She was grateful for the chance to play today. It was an opportunity to see if she could publicly play for God. One final song and her performance would end. Would life go back to the same? Would God open more doors for her to use her talent? That would be God’s decision. She would do her best to follow His lead. Triumphantly she tenderly played her favorite song, Amazing Grace.

Grace was so wrapped up in her own thoughts and prayers she had failed to notice that the audience was silent, all eyes staring at her and the piano. When Grace finished there was total silence…then the women stood in unison, clapping their hands enthusiastically, eyes moist with tears. They had been touched by Grace’s music.

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This article has been read 298 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Mona Purvis08/12/10
I love what you did with this piece. Very well written. I can tell you know something about music and piano. But, more importantly, you love of God shows.
Ordinarily, I might suggest another name for the entry, but it works well with the way you presented it. look forward to more.

Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/16/10
I'm not very musical, but I could hear the notes of the piano as I read your story. Touching the keys on the piano is a fresh and wonderful interpretation of the topic.
Phee Paradise 08/17/10
Your description of the piano playing brought me back to the days when I took lessons. I wish I had been able to play like that. I love that part, but when you told us Grace's story, it felt a little intrusive, like you were pulling me out of a wonderful reverie. I wonder if you could have woven it into the playing? Just an idea, I'm not sure how I would have done it.
AnneRene' Capp08/19/10
A hearty Congratulations on your EC win. This is extraordinarily touching with it's message of serving God with a God given talent. The feel good ending of applause and appreciation, was also well deserved, for such a humble heart!