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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Music (03/08/07)

TITLE: Piano Seasons
By Lauri Gruen


Entering her young sonís cluttered room, Alicia glanced over at the keyboard, now a place to catch clothing. With bittersweet nostalgia, she recalled the melodious sounds that at one time came from this room.

She thought about how much she enjoyed listening to Jonathan as he set his fingers on the ivory notes and instantaneously produced a breathtaking arrangement. The breathtaking part wasnít only the musical result but also the incredible realization of the talent that was inside her son. The idle keyboard reminded Alicia how he had recently abandoned this gift.

True, he was still young and even without formal instruction, there was no telling when this innate talent would again emerge. But the last few months had been a battle and finally the white flag was raised. It was not only the limited practicing in between lessons, the financial hardship of paying for lessons while Jonathanís dad was out or work or even the race to get to the teacherís house directly after school. Even more frustrating was watching Jonathan painfully practice rote exercises when his fingers were itching to create original scores.

Similar to his school experience, Jonathanís learning style and gifts did not match the teaching style and expectations.

Like packing up precious, memory filled, worn-out baby clothes with the hope that they will be passed down to future grandchildren, Alicia removed the laundry pile from Jonathanís keyboard and covered it with a tablecloth.

Throughout the remaining years of elementary school, Jonathanís thirst for knowledge flourished. By the time he entered middle school, his mind was like a sponge soaking up every piece of information set before him.

At about the same time, a huge change occurred in their family, profoundly affecting each one of them. In a search to draw closer to God, Alicia found her Messiah, her Savior Jesus Christ. This miraculous reconciliation to the Heavenly Father was gradually embraced by each member of Aliciaís family.

During the summer immediately following the familyís salvation, both Jonathan and his sister Abigail attended a sleep-away camp sponsored by their church. Both kids had been away from home before, but this surely was a new experience being surrounded by spirit-filled believers their own age.

When the week was over, Alicia picked up her children from camp, not knowing what to expect. The backseat overflowed with excited conversation, each child attempting to tell their stories before the other interrupted. Alicia could not contain her joy at hearing how powerfully God had moved in her childrenís lives in seven days.

As soon as they pulled into the driveway, seatbelts flew off, doors sprung open and both children ran into the house. Camp was awesome, but the comforts of home were also a welcome change from rustic cabins and mess halls. What would they do first, which pet would they greet, who was headed towards the refrigerator, who ran to plop down on their own bed?

Abigail headed straight towards her rabbit, but where was Jonathan? Suddenly, the most incredible sounds flowed from the living room. Jonathan was sitting down at the piano and his fingers miraculously danced across the keys to produce the most magnificent melody. Awe-struck, Alicia stood by the piano, starring at her son, mouth open, eyes glued to his fingers. Her gaze turned upwards as she praised God for the awesome work He had done in her son. In His timing, He had sovereignly turned on the switch to the talent inside Jonathan; the gift He alone had created.

Alicia sunk back into the easy chair behind her, closed her eyes and allowed the majestic beauty of the music penetrate her soul and spirit. With a grateful heart, she thanked God for being the best possible teacher for her son and prayed Jonathan would forever continue to bring God glory with every note he played.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jen Davis03/16/07
I enjoyed reading this, and I thought the twist with the title was very clever. A great message about God timing and gifts. Also, if true, this story will be a nice keepsake for your family.
Jacquelyn Horne03/18/07
Encouraging story. Especially to mothers who are trying to get their children to live for God and be in his service with their talents. Good writing.
Sharlyn Guthrie03/18/07
I appreciate the mother's insight. I wonder how many gifted children may have given up their talent out of frustration with teaching methods. Your story is well-constructed and encouraging.
julie wood03/19/07
I really enjoyed this story! I could see everything and feel with both the mother and the son--espcially their frustration over the teaching methods that didn't fit Jonathan's learning style. I can identify with this, having both gone through it myself as a child and seen it happen with my daughters.

Beautiful imagery! My favorite phrase: describing the piano as "now a place to catch clothing." I liked the symbolism of hope presented by the mother later on removing that clothing and replacing it with a cloth. Great job!

Satisfying ending.