I Appreciate You

I hated playing the piano in seminary until I found the right note—on my desk!

I didn’t want to admit it, but no one else was going to. Even though I barely knew how to play five hymns, I was the only one in the whole seminary class willing to admit that I played the piano. It was my senior year, and I’d never had to play in class before because there was always someone else who volunteered, but not this semester. The title of official piano player gave me some confidence in my small talent—until I realized no one seemed to care.

With my new seminary responsibility, I worried that the class would get tired of singing the same songs over and over, so I tried to stumble through the top hand notes of songs I hadn’t played before. I soon stopped struggling to keep the melody going when I realized few were singing. Daily I became more and more reluctant to play. I purposely came late, hoping I’d miss that part of the devotional. I felt learning to play hymns was a waste of time, and I was ashamed to have to get up in front of the class every day.

Then one day, when I’d particularly struggled through a song I’d never practiced, my attitude changed. As I returned to my desk after playing, I found a note on my scriptures. At first, I thought it was a prank. Nevertheless, I opened it. On a paper torn from a day planner was written, “I appreciate you for playing the piano for our class. Music that you play brings a good spirit.”

I realized then my responsibility as the class piano player wasn’t just playing a song. I was inviting the Spirit of the Lord into the class. I began learning and practicing as many hymns as I could. I paid attention to the feelings they created, and I gained the confidence to play them with meaning.

I don’t know if many people noticed the improvement in my playing, but I know I helped at least a few people praise the Lord through song, even if it was only me and the person who wrote that encouraging note.

[illustration] Illustrated by Steve Kropp