“But it doesn’t sound like ‘Good King Wenceslas’.” Kamy held up her hands in exasperation.
Some half-hour piano lessons feel like hours. My usually well-prepared student faltered today.
“You forgot the repeat, Kamy. Remember? The two dots at the end of the phrase mean that you should repeat. See? Go back to the two dots at the beginning of the piece, play the phrase again, and then go on.
Kamy stared at the music before her, gingerly placed her little fingers on the piano and played the piece again. There. That’s my good student. Wait, a tear slid down her cheek.
“What’s the matter, sweetie? That was great. No problem forgetting the repeat. Everyone makes mistakes. You are doing very well.” I handed her a tissue. Her perfectionism spilled out all over my piano keys.
“It’s not that. I think my mommy’s sick.” That sentence hung heavy in the air like a tangible fog. Tears rolled out in earnest now.
"Sick how?” I put my arm around her and handed her another tissue.
“I like to get in the bed with Mom and Dad on Saturday mornings. Before I went in, I overheard Mommy saying she needed to see if Grammy could keep me while she’s in the hospital. Something about a repeat performance. She kind of got sniffy sounding in her voice. It scared me so I went back to my room.” She dabbed at her eyes, but the tears kept coming.
Kamy’s mother had a breast removed when the child was only three. Had the cancer returned? I wondered what Kamy understood about all this. I didn’t want to reveal anything her parents hadn’t told her. One thing I knew, though. Kamy’s parents were people of faith.
“We can pray for her right now if you like.” Her little hand slipped into mine. I opened my mouth to pray but Kamy beat me to it.
“God, please make my mommy well. I don’t know what a repeat performance is, but please make it all better. Please make Mommy well.” The deep sigh that accompanies a time of crying escaped her lips.
She rested her head in my arm for another minute or two, and then sat back up facing the piano. She began ‘Good King Wenceslas’ again.
“Wait, Kamy, let’s pull out your chorus book first. I’d like to hear you play ‘The Steadfast Love of the Lord'.” I silently prayed that I could minister to this little girl. Her spirit seemed to know something serious was happening to her mother.
“You play this one so well. Could I sing along while you play?” She nodded without looking my way, but began playing.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning, new every morning. Great is thy faithfulness, Oh, Lord, great is Thy faithfulness.” I sang along but remained silent as she took the repeat and played the second verse.
Her eyes shone.“That’s a repeat performance, isn’t it? God repeats his mercies every single day. Maybe that’s what Mommy meant.” Kamy smiled and played the song again.
“Yes, I think so. Your chorus is a Bible verse from Lamentations.” I patted her on the back. She touched the lyrics on the page, underlining ‘new every morning’ with her dimpled index finger.
She pulled out her Christmas carol again and played through it once more. A smile unfolded on her face, revealing a lost tooth.
“What are you grinning about, young lady?”
“On this one, you repeat and then you keep going,” she said. I popped a little sticker on the top of the page.
Was she pleased that she understood the musical direction? Or had God spoken to her heart?
My turn to reach for tissues.
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