Thursday, February 19, 2009

More Broken Than I Knew.

For this I have to go way back into my past nearly to my childhood. I've always loved music. I wanted to write songs as a litle girl. I wanted to play the piano (and any other instrument I could). I started lessons when I was 7. I had a string of teachers.

When I was 13 I met Susan. She was the wife of the music minister of our church. She taught piano. She lived in our neighorhood. She had a son that needed babysat. Our lives became intertwined. I frequently rode to church with them. I took lessons from her. I babysat the cutest little boy. And I took piano lessons from Susan. Truly, she was the best teacher I ever had. In my dark world, with druggie, alcoholic brothers at home, their kindness was a light in my life, their home a sanctuary.

Three years later, they were called to another church many states away, but it may as well have been in outer space. On my 16th birthday, the moving truck pulled away. I was crushed. Musically speaking, my life went downhill from there.

A few months ago our church had a reunion of sorts and all the former music ministers were invited back. After nearly 23 years, I saw Susan again for the first time. It doesn't surprise me that I was emotional, that's a given for me. What surprises me was how DEEPLY emotional my response was. When she asked me if I was still playing piano she was surprised to learn that the answer was no. And, she told me just how talented she thought I was. You could have bowled me over with a feather.

I tell you, I have bawled over my conversation with her, more than once. Bawled. A short time later I received a small package from Susan. A cd and a piano book. The book, a book of hymns that she arranged and the cd, a recording of her playing the arrangements, and a note to encourage me to pick it back up. Moments after opening the package I was on the phone with a friend, you guessed it, bawling.

In talking to my friend I told her about Susan and then the events that followed her departure from my life. Shortly after Susan left I got involved in a very unhealthy relationship. Destructive is a better term. That relationship was bad for me on every level of my life, most especially spiritually and musically. This person was also a pianist. She was very competitive and she destroyed any confidence I had in my talent. I let her. I limped along. I went to college to pursue a career in music, but gave up when I compared myself to those around me and I couldn't measure up. I even toured with a group called The Continental Singers as a keyboardist for 3 months. It was the first time I had ever played in a band and honestly I wasn't very good because of my lack of experience. Again, my confidence took a hit.

After that I never played again (other than plunking around at home). The music in me died.

As the whole story came pouring out of me to my friend it was a revelation to me. It was like I had never seen it before, the hurt, the compettition, the steps of complete destruction of something that had once been the love of my life. Suddenly, after all these years there it was. I was laid bare, raw and bleeding, left for dead and certain of one thing: God was leading me, guiding me, carrying me toward healing. I thought the work of forgiveness toward my brother was huge, but it was only the appetizer of forgiveness that needs to take place in my heart now. It was only preparation for the bigger work of forgiveness that God is doing. That was a healing miracle, this new thing, this is a resurrection of the dead.

I asked my friend to take me on as a piano student. She agreed and I started last month. I was a bit scared to trust a friend at first, but God has put her in my life for a very specific reason. This friend understands brokeness and pain. We've travelled roads together that have proven her gentleness and compassion. I can trust her. More importantly, I can trust God.

This first month has been hard. It's painful to sit down at the piano and feel the loss, and feel incompetent, and hear to the lies of the past and try to block them out. It's hard to see others and not compare myself when I've been musicaly dead for 20 years. It's another area where I am completely broken and useless. But, God... (Aren't those great words, "But, God"? Because they mean something wonderful is to follow.) But, GOD has been speaking quietly to my heart. The gentle voice of my Lord has been telling me to listen to Him. He wants to speak new words to me. He wants me to hear His voice, only. He wants me to worship Him and draw near to Him and talk to Him each time I sit at the piano. He wants to heal me and make me better than I ever could have been before.

I can't believe how broken I am. And I can't believe how utterly joyous it feels to be put back together, piece by tiny piece into a vessel that the Holy Spirit will flow out of, spilling onto those around me. I can't wait to draw nearer to my Lord and to hear what he is going to speak into my life.

Who knew?! I sure didn't.


  1. I am so glad that you are"finding" your past and working through it. Don't let it limit who you are. You are an incredible person who has SO much to offer.

  2. Karina, Thank you for being so honest. I feel like I could have written these words about dancing. You are inspiring me that I may not be too old, and I don't have to give up on my dreams! Thank you!

  3. My Dear Karina,

    I read your post with a mixture of joy, gratitude, and regret. Joy and gratitude that you have grown into such an amazing young woman, and that I was able to have a small part in that. But I feel terrible that I did not keep in touch with you after we left. I suppose I was about your age now, and overwhelmed with moving to a new life while caring for little ones. We also had a philosophy to sort of "cut the ties" and move on, which I realize now was wrong. I'm truly sorry for that.

    I'm so excited that you are rediscovering the piano. And your comments were very inspiring to me about sitting there and drawing near to God. So often I forget to do that.

    I went for over a year without touching a keyboard after we left Shadow Mountain Church. Then I was asked to play for a wedding out of town. When I started playing the organ, I was overcome with joy. Something awakened in me that I hadn't even realized had died!

    I am so thankful that God brought us together again, and is doing such amazing things in your life. There is no question that is the reason He wanted us to go back to Denver. He truly does work all things together for our good, and weaves a beautiful tapestry out of our lives even though now we only see the back side of it.

    I'm serious about your coming to San Diego! (Did you read my comment on your Not Me last week?) We can sit down and have fun at the piano together!

    Do I win the prize for the longest comment ever?

    I love you and praise God for bringing you back into my life!