Thursday, October 21, 2010

Save Our Piano!!!

Here's a fun letter that was sent to Carol and me when Dad was preaching in West Liberty.  He didn't actually feel like his ministry was successful there. It was one of the more difficult pastorates for him and when he left, it was the only time he felt that he had failed.  One summer, he received this letter and I'm not sure why he opened it since it was addressed to the two of us girls, but he did and he also chose not to tell us about it until long after we had left.

I found it today.  I took a break and started digging into the things that I brought back from his house.  It was sent in 1982.  Carol and I were home for the summer and we did special music pretty regularly.  This poor, old lady showed up one Sunday morning and freaked out because the music was too loud.  She was so concerned about the fact that it wasn't sweet and heavenly, she needed to ensure that we knew what church music was to sound like.

If I recall correctly, that Sunday we had performed a piece that was a glorious piano solo underneath beautiful vocals.  Carol was on microphone and I can guarantee you that if Dad couldn't hear the vocals, he would have changed the levels - he was quite a stickler for understanding words clearly.

This is an anonymous letter, though at the time Dad knew exactly who had sent it.  Too many times we let these anonymous complaints alter or change how we approach ministry.  We question what we know to be right because one person complains.  Dad never did that.  He shouldered the responsibility for the decisions he made and shrugged off things like this.

Several years after we had left the community, he dug this letter out to show us.  He was laughing when he did.  It meant no more to him than that, but he knew that had he told us about it at the time, it would have stifled our enthusiasm in sharing our music and that was the last thing he wanted to have happen.

There are a lot of lessons to be learned ... from this letter and from his response ... but I'll leave those to you.

For now, I just chuckle as I think about her descriptive phrases for my piano playing and for her expectations of church music ... and her considerable concern for the safety of the piano in that church!

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