Updated: Jun 1, 2019
Some days, when I sit down in front of the piano after a long day and with a lengthy list of tasks I still need to do, I wonder why I do this to myself. I have other work I need to do, more important work, in my opinion. There are things I would love to do, things that would make me feel better about myself.
I could get more sleep for once; Lord knows I need that right now. Or I could hang out with those friends I haven’t been able to talk to in weeks. Or, maybe, I could actually have time to spend with my boyfriend. And who knows when the last time I read a book for fun was.
Why do I do it? Why do I spend hours in front of a piano alone, working my way through 20th-century pieces I don’t even really like? I could sit in front of one page, spend hours going over the same four measures, and still not get it down. Am I really improving? Is this really going to make a big difference in my life?
Why do I play piano? And why does someone else spend all her spare time practicing a certain dance move? Or sit in a science lab, trying the same experiment that doesn’t seem to ever work? Or work for hours on mastering a card trick that takes 30 seconds to perform?
It’s because we love to do it. Because if we gave up and no longer tried, our lives would be missing something. That’s the way we were created.
So many people don’t actually know what they want to do in their lives. So if you’ve found that one thing that inspires you, that one thing that you are passionate about, you’d better do as much as you can with it, even if it does mean you’ll have to give up something else. It’s a blessing to be able to pour your life into something you love. Not everyone gets that opportunity.
People might try to talk me out of it. They might say that I have better things to do; they might get jealous, because I spend more time at the piano than with them; or they might say I’ll never be good enough anyway, so why try? But why should I believe them? They don’t understand how wonderful it feels when I can finally play a finished piece. Or when I just sit down and figure out a song I like, or write my own. That’s my happy place, and most people won’t get it. But that’s okay.
I may not be the best at it. I may never become famous and play in front of crowds, but that isn’t why I do it in the first place. Would I still play the piano if I were the only person on the earth? Of course I would; that’s not even a question. I do it because it brings me joy.
So the next time I sit down in front of the keyboard and open the piano book to Bach’s Inventions, I’ll give thanks to God that I am able to do it. Even if it’s not always fun. Even when it’s not that easy.
Because I love it.