Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Dear Mrs. Guikema,
Here it is, 20 years later. And where has the time flown?
Twenty years ago you gave me a gift that continues to impact my life even today. You gave me a gift, (or actually several gifts) the proverbial gift that keeps on giving.
I always wanted to play the piano, but there were two pretty huge obstacles in the way.
#1-no piano.
#2-no money for lessons. In a big family, on a very tight budget, piano lessons rank below rent and dinner.
The Christmas I was 13, my parents gave my sister Bek a keyboard. It had full size keys, and enough octaves to be useful. This solved the lack of piano issue-at least enough so that we had something to practice on.
When you found out about the keyboard you offered us lessons. Free lessons. Every week for an hour. Wow! This is a bargain on many levels in the piano teaching community. A bargain. A gift. A sacrifice of love.
We embarked on lessons. 10:00 every Thursday morning. We started with the A level book, the moved on to other old piano books. We worked through Campton Races, and Pachebel's Canon in D. We plunked away at God Leads us Along and Joyful, Joyful. And, after about a year, we started in on the hymnbook. Because that was my desire-to learn to play hymns so I could play at church. There was a shortage of pianists, and that was how I wanted to give back.
Lessons continued for 2-3 years. We'd work on timing, and sight reading, and eventually moved into improvisation. I shudder when I think of how you would occasionally record me playing. It sounded horrible. But, eventually, as the years passed with lots of practice, and grace and guidance, I improved. I played with gumption, and a good sense of timing. I learned to play strong intros to the hymns, so people would know what they were singing. I didn't learn anything fancy, but I did learn to love the piano even more than when I started.
I still play the piano at church. I play for my family. I play at the nursing home that you eventually moved in to. I am passing on to my boys some of the things you taught me.
You always said you were giving me lessons because you were training your replacement. But, you didn't have to do that. You gave me such a gift. The gift of music, and musical expression.
I play the piano triumphantly when I am happy and encouraged. I play more pensively when my heart is sad.
When I play the hymns, I think of you. I remember the sounds of the different notes you added to certain hymns. I can hear the runs. I remember you favorite hymns. I remember how you really liked Hyfrodol. It is one of my favorites too. I remember how you always had me play Because He Lives, because it was one of your friend's favorites. I remember walking to your apartment on Thursday afternoons, after Mr. Hippie and I got married, to play your piano. I was without something to practice on once again. I remember bringing my kids to visit "Grandma Guikema." I remember how we'd share a meal. I'd bring most of it, but you'd always contribute fresh rolls, and a coconut cream pie because Mr. Hippie said once that he liked it. I remember just talking, week after week with you. Learning from you. Hearing stories of "way back then." Learning from your example of a godly women, wife and mother.
I remember how you always talked about how Jesus Christ was coming soon. And you were ready. When you could no longer make it out to church, you would watch the tele-evengelists on your old set. You had your favorites. But, you were always impressed by those who lived and believed that Jesus Christ was coming back any day now.
He still hasn't come back. But, you helped instill in me the awareness that He can come back any day. And it probably will be soon.
You no longer are waiting for Him though, you are with Him. And I miss you. I wish you could have met Meres, and seen how BMV is learning to play the piano, and how Freckles and LC are growing up. I wish you could hear them singing and reciting verses every month at that rest home. I wish you could hear how people compliment my playing (seriously, it's because they are deaf), and ask me who taught me how to play the hymns.
And I say, "Mrs. Gladys Guikema." "She gave me this gift that keeps on giving. She sacrificed of her time and talent to teach me. She bore through horrible playing. And I want to be just like her when I grow up."
Thank you so very much! You have blessed me more than my feeble words can say. But God sees my heart, and He knows what you gave. And I am pretty sure there is a special reward waiting for you in heaven.
In as much as you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto Me...

Well, ladies, and gents...today is our "Take-Two Tuesday" link up.
What is Take Two Tuesday? It is the opportunity for you to link up your favorite post from the last week. The subject can be anything. It can be funny, serious, a how-to, photo dump. Anything.
A few rules...
1. Follow my blog-whether GFC, email, bloglovin' or RSS-pick your poison.
2. Read and comment on two other links-let's say the one right before you, and another one that catches your eye. By comments, I don't mean "I'm following your blog-follow mine." Let's encourage each other. If they asked a question in their post, answer it. Make friends, not followers. (that sounds like a movie quote)
3. I will try to read each one.
4. Grab a button if so desired. If not, a typed link back would be awesome!
5. Please do not link up anything you are trying to sell. I will remove the link. Thank you. The purpose of this is showcasing your writings, not your products.