I am 10 years old. Floor to ceiling, three walls of open windows beckon me. The sun room seems to pulse, summer breezes stirring up dust motes suspended in sunlight.
Angled toward the small lake beyond, the yearning silence of one grand piano.
No one notices me inch away as the realtor ushers my family upstairs, their voices receding.
I close the wall of French doors behind me. I’ve never seen glazed terracotta floor tiles. I slip off my Keds.
For now, I own this echoing chamber.
I ease the bench away from the keyboard. Sink onto the padded surface. Fold back the long, hinged lid: 88 keys. Ivory. Ebony. A playground in B&W.
One stocking foot stretches toward the sustain pedal.
Breath: held. Released.
No “Chopsticks” for me today, no percussive “Night and Day”—this moment calls for arpeggios, and because I didn’t ask anyone’s permission, pianissimo . . .
What half-way musical kid wouldn’t imagine the sold-out concert hall? And who on a summer’s day could lift hand over hand across ivories in brimming light and resist exerting a faster, firmer, more confident touch?
Notes blend like the half-furled petals of color on a pinwheel, spinning the spectrum into ethereal white. Joy effervesces. Time melts . . .
They come to find me, of course. Scolding a little.
To this day, I can summon the timeless shimmer of those moments alone at the keys.
If author Frederick Buechner is correct, eternity is neither endless time nor the opposite of time as we experience it. Like that spinning pinwheel that reduces colors to essential white, eternity is the essence of time.
Beyond fathoming. Ever available.
I seldom welcome the extended shelf life of memory when wrenching episodes resurface. They do, however, usually offer an invitation toward further healing.
It’s those replayed moments my soul glimpses God’s abiding presence that rejuvenate and nourish me. The opened door, the readied larder of the soul.
In these days of restricted access to people and places, is there a scene from your earlier life—perhaps still throbbing with magic and possibility—that might freshly nurture or inspire you? Perhaps it will awaken a shelved dream you might now have the time to explore.
- Your high school aha at the microscope
- That winning Little League swing for the fences
- A thorny equation, solved
- You, reassembling your dad’s radio—no leftover parts
- Mixing drops from all your mother’s perfumes for that unforgettable gift on Mother’s Day
I hope you’ll consider inviting me in . . .
“God, as Isaiah says (57:15), ‘inhabiteth eternity,’ but stands with one foot in time. The part of time where he stands most particularly is Christ, and thus in Christ we catch a glimpse of what eternity is all about, what God is all about, and what we ourselves are all about too.” —Buechner, Wishful Thinking
Photos: Ebuen Clemente Jr on Unsplash and Clark Young on Unsplash.