We’re thinking about selling our piano, so of course, now I think I’d like to play it. Never-mind that we’ve had a piano in the house for about twenty years, and never in all that time have I mastered a song at the intermediate level. I can read music, I love music, I began piano lessons before age 10 and continued for several years. I love the idea of being a piano player, but the truth is, I’ve had the opportunity and some training, and it just doesn’t come naturally to me. As much as I love the idea, playing the piano is a whole lot of work resulting in almost nil on the satisfaction meter.
This is what I mean when I’ve written before about being honest with ourselves. I want to think that our family is one that gathers around the piano to sing Christmas carols. It’s a really lovely image, but history clearly shows that saying that I want music in my house doesn’t, in fact, jibe with who we are and where our talents lie. If we were musicians, if music were that important, somebody would play our piano besides my brother-in-law and niece who sit down to it every couple of years around Christmas.
But I insist the mental gymnastics of selling our piano will include this honesty. It is not self-flagellation, but the opposite. In admitting that music is not a natural gift, I can also acknowledge that our beautiful piano is not, itself, realizing its potential — being a dust-collector, as it is, instead of a vessel of the sublime, as it was intended to be. In that light it seems selfish for us to hold on to our piano in order to protect some random ideal (really, where did it come from?) of the perfect home. Just as we were created as individuals with a purpose, so was our piano created for a purpose. In order for it to fulfill its purpose, it’s time for us to help our piano find a new home, where the gift of music truly exists.
As for my husband and me, we have plenty of other ways to add beauty to our world. It’s okay to admit that music isn’t one of them.