Mielke: The journey between today and someday can be long

In my own humble way I am struggling to learn to play Leonard Cohen’s great and beautiful ‘Hallelujah’ on the piano.

I struggle with the song in the morning when the sun is just waking up and splashing about in the eastern sky.

And I struggle at night, after the supper dishes are done and I want only to lay on the couch.

I think I have the first page of the song pretty good, before the music changes into sharps, but then I kind of fall apart.

It is such a hauntingly beautiful song and I keep trying and trying to play it, forever grateful that Leonard Cohen wrote it, and even more grateful that he cannot hear me destroy it.

Someday, I will get it, someday I will have trained my fingers to hit the right notes.

I know I will.

Someday.

But, the time frame between someday and today is anybody’s guess.

My nephew, bless his heart, glanced at the piano the other day, noticing pages of music, some on the piano, some on the piano bench, none of which were in any particular order.

“You still taking piano lessons?” Treen.

“I am,” I replied, somewhat haughtily.

In the unspoken words between us, I felt that he felt that I should have gotten so much better.

“I should have gotten so much better,” I muttered.

After all what woman of advanced years such as myself is still taking piano lessons.

My nephew, however, only said, “You’ve been at it a long time,” leaving me to berate my own self.

I believe they call it negative self talk.

It is true. I have taken lessons for a long time, and still most of the songs I play are only at about the Grade 4 level, but, for some reason I just don’t want to quit trying.

I guess I do have my reasons.

I want to play like my mother. I didn’t really know her, but apparently she had this wonderful soft touch on the piano and she could play like an angel.

So, I aspire to that.

And I want to play with my grandchildren.

At Christmas my granddaughter, who is an accomplished violinist, displayed gentle patience that belied her teenage years, and played her violin while I played the piano. It was wonderful. I was so happy and so proud. I even opened the living room window in case anybody was walking by on the sidewalk and could catch the notes drifting out into the frozen air so they could stop and be amazed.

And the other day one of my grandsons, who is learning the guitar, took the time to show me three simple chords.

Once again I fumbled with the notes and my fingers felt too big for the strings but when I strummed the chords, he grinned at me like I had accomplished a great thing.

“You got it, grandma,” he said, and his words of praise were like little rays of sunshine warming my whole self.

When I read about the history of Leonard Cohen’s song, Hallelujah, I learned that the song did not become famous for several years after he wrote it.

In 1984, CBS Records gave a thumbs down to Cohen’s album that had the original ‘Hallelujah’ on it. In fact, it was to be many years later before it made its way to notoriety.

When I read about the history of the song, I can’t help but be reminded of the difference between today and someday.

When Leonard Cohen wrote the song ‘Hallelujah’ he had no idea it would become famous ‘someday’.

But, of course, it did.

And as I force myself once again to go down to the piano and practice my songs over and over I just know that someday it will be worth it.

Someday I will play it with my granddaughter and she will say, “good job, grandma.”

Someday I will maybe play even more than three chords on the guitar, but, I have to admit, that is stretching it.

And someday, maybe I will play a song and my fingers will gentle, but sure on the keys, and I will know in my heart that the music sounds soft and sweet and, somehow, I will be sure that I have captured my mother’s touch on the piano.

Someday!

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