Lessons From a One Handed Piano Player

Have you ever needed help, but didn’t know it?

I had a close call recently that taught me a few lessons I hope may be of help to you next time you wonder about God’s interest and activity in your life.

The Thursday evening before Memorial Day, I was slicing an avocado.  After several unsuccessful tries of removing the stubborn pit, I unwisely (but with great enthusiasm!) stabbed the pit with a steak knife while holding the avocado half in my left hand.  (Did I mention I’m a pianist who happens to be left handed?) The pit split and the knife went into my hand at the base of my ring finger.  Please, no judgement. Believe me, I know better than anyone else how foolish my actions were!

Off John and I went to the emergency room.  Some 17 stitches later, we were done.

I have colorful pics, but will spare you the details.  Instead, here is this cool avocado slicer I received as a consolation prize.

I limped through the Sunday music at the keyboard and on Monday was playing a Memorial Day concert.  I mentioned to my friend that my finger was numb and that I wondered how long it would be before the feeling came back.

What happened next was nothing but divine intervention.

He said, “You need to see a hand surgeon.  My son works for a hand surgeon and he will call you within the hour.”

A hand surgeon?  I just needed a few stitches, I thought.  Besides, the ER didn’t mention any need for follow up.

After talking with me, his son said he thought I may have severed the nerve.  He got an appointment for me and by Wednesday, the surgeon confirmed it and I underwent surgery the same day to have it sewn back together.  Who knew that was even possible?

I learned there is a window of time before the nerve begins to retract, making the surgery more complicated, involving nerve grafts from the back of the leg or even from a cadaver, if necessary.

Why am I telling you this story?  Because there are times in our lives that God takes over for us when we don’t even know to ask Him.  Maybe you need to know that today.

Three things I want to share with you:

  1. God is going to get you where you need to be.  I needed surgery quickly and didn’t know it.  Maybe you’re in the throws of a big decision, trying to make the right choice, maybe a little concerned about missing God’s will.  The saying is wise: “Do your best and forget the rest.”  He will find you.  Even in your seemingly wrong choices, He will intervene and cause you to be where you need to be, put you in the right place at the right time.
  2. Your set backs are for His set upsHe will cause your pain, your disappointments  to be used for your good and His glory.  How?  I don’t know.  But we have wonderful examples of those who had terrible setbacks and God used that very thing to work for great outcomes.  Joseph would never have become second to Pharaoh and saved his family and people without first being betrayed by his brothers.
  3. Let his working in your life refresh you with gratitude.  Sometimes almost losing something (or losing something for a while and then getting it back) is like a gigantic reset button.                                                                                            After surgery, I wore a cast from the tip of my fingers to my elbow.  Then I graduated to a smaller cast for another couple of weeks.                                             When I got out of the cast, I could hardly move my left hand due to atrophy and swelling.         A few weeks and several therapy sessions later, I was playing the piano for an event.  I began to play the song “Give Thanks” and suddenly the song I’d played a million times was fresh with new meaning.  I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity to praise God through making music.  The result of my avocado debacle has been a fresh infusion of joy over the miracle of surgery and the body’s ability to heal, the beauty of music and the privilege of making it.  What close call have you had when you didn’t even know to ask God for help?  Ask Him to show you his involvement and activity in your life…and let it fill you with gratitude.

By the way, National Avocado Day was yesterday!

To celebrate,  I think I’ll go slice up a juicy one…

carefully…

and with my new childproof safety avocado slicer.

 

 

Holiday Stress? A Simple Tip from Me to You

The countdown is on!  Just a few days till Christmas, and, if you’re like me, there’s still much to do!  A simple tip for beating the stress: remember to reward yourself.  Here’s what I mean.

Last week, after several musical presentations, shopping, cooking, errands, etc., I was feeling the stress of the season. My day hadn’t even started, but I was tired, just thinking of what needed to be done!   I was tempted to skip my walk with the dogs; after all, it was cold, damp and dreary outside.  But I donned my sneakers anyway and off we went.

John and I usually walk them together, but today I had both by myself.  Because they are big dogs who have a terrible habit of pulling, soon I was walking faster than I would’ve chosen.  Up steep hills, down hills, it didn’t matter to them.  They lunged at a cat, requiring all my strength to keep from sailing across the road.  We lingered a moment at the bus stop where a few 2nd and 3rd graders wait.  They shrieked with glee like they do every morning at the sight of the dogs.  Lots of petting, laughing and tail wagging, then we were on our way again.

As the sprinkling picked up, so did our already fast pace.  Now we were jogging and blood was pumping.  Sprinkling became steady rain.  Steady rain became a downpour.  The three of us were in a race for home.  Cold, stinging rain on my face, heart pounding, thighs burning.

Why was I laughing?

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Up the driveway, to the shelter of the carport, soaked to the bone.  I fed the dogs, took a hot shower and got on some dry clothes.  I sat down with a cup of hot tea, and that’s when I realized it: all the stress, irritability and fatigue were gone. In their place? Renewed energy, a more “alive” feeling and pure gratitude for a warm house!  In addition, the tasks before me now seemed more do-able.

This can be a hectic time of year.  I sometimes find myself so busy taking care of day to day activities that I can forget to take some time for myself.

Rewarding ourselves is an important part of maintaining a balanced life.  With the hectic pace that the holidays can bring, remember to reward yourself.   It may not be a run in the rain with crazy dogs, but whatever it is for you, find some time for yourself this holiday season and beat the stress!

From my heart to yours, I wish you a stress-free, healthy and blessed Christmas!