Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pianos and Repentence

I am a piano player who is fairly proficient. I like to play to entertain myself every so often. It is also an emotional outlet when I’m frustrated or sad or feeling down.

I have a piano that seems to get out of tune about every six months when the seasons change. The temperature change causes the piano innards to expand or contract and a few pins in the pin block start slipping, causing the tension on the strings to loosen. Soon there are a few notes with strings that have slipped down a half step. The musical result is a discordant mush, especially when the notes that have slipped are around the middle registers. Those notes are always being used and they are very important.

In the past I have tried to get by with having the piano tuned every year, but as I said, strings start sliding out of tune right around the six month point and soon I can’t stand to play because it sounds so terrible.

This happened again today. I sat down to play a particular song that particularly required certain notes, two of which had sunk out of tune, and I found it sounded wretched. I tried to compensate by using a different octave, but that didn’t work. I needed those notes. I had to stop. It hurt to listen to the sound being made.

As I sat there looking at the keys with a fair amount of resentment, the Spirit pointed out to me that Heavenly Father feels the same way about us when we have things that are out of tune in our lives and He tries to do something important with us that especially requires those particular characteristics that we have allowed to slip. Other righteous characteristics can’t compensate for the ones that are out of tune, so that particular “song” goes unplayed until we get ourselves back in tune using repentance.

I thought my piano could get by with a tune-up every year, but it looks like I’ll have to tune it up more often, perhaps every six months. In our lives, how often do we get a repentance tune-up? Annually? Semi-annually? Weekly? Wouldn’t it be best if it were daily?

Tomorrow I’m substitute-teaching the CTR 8 class on the lesson of forgiving one another. I realized that I had a lot of forgiving to do, even though I did a fabulous job of hiding the resentment from myself. I control my anger pretty well (would those qualify as famous last words?) and it is usually on the level of irritation which I can squelch without too much hoo-ha, so I thought I was okay, but today I realized that even though I might not even say anything, and even though I try to forget about it, I still have to forgive. The wounds have to be healed.

What in your life is out of tune? I’m not asking you to tell me about it. Just think about it and do some praying about it. What are you allowing to slide in your life that you need to work on?

Image: Piano Tuning in Clay West Virgina,


Wonder Woman said...

What a fantastic blog!!

Have you read The Peacegiver? That book forever changed my perspective on forgiveness.

We have similar callings -- hubs and I are Cubmasters, and I'm the ward organist.

Thanks so much for your thoughts on the temple. All the things in italics were whisperings of the Spirit during the meeting. I'm pretty good about not letting Satan get to me negatively; actually, I think I could use a few more doses of guilt. ;)

Unfortunately, we go to the temple about 3-4 times a year. And most recently, my husband usually stays home while I go, and vice versa, so that we are both able to go at least a few times. That's honestly one of our biggest issues -- babysitters. We have no family in the area, and simply can't afford the $15 once a month. (Sad, but true.) We've tried swapping with families in the ward, but that only lasts about 2 times before it just dies out.

But you are right. We just need to set goals and let nothing stop us from going. Luckily, we both love the temple, so that's not a hurdle. We just need to make time. (It's not like we even live that far away. 20 minutes.)

Thanks for reading my blog!!

Chas Hathaway said...

What a cool way to look at it.

By the way, I love playing piano, too! I have a music blog at

I think holding off repentance is like putting off eating. Can you imagine how rough it would be on a person if they only ate once a week and then tried to do a week's worth of eating? Whew. Regular and often works better for sure!

- Chas

Michaela Stephens said...

wonder woman: cub scout and music callings! That's so cool!

It sounds like you are making the best of a difficult situation. I applaud you. Make your plan and work it!

Chas: That's an interesting idea to think of repenting as eating. I never thought of it quite like that. Another way I like to think of repentance is like taking my daily shower. No way would I go a whole week without a shower. (I have troubles with camping..) Just like I'd stink if I went a week without a shower, you can be sure the sins stink to heaven if I went a week without repenting.