I landed a new treasure. A rich, sophisticated, lovely treasure, laden with history and meaning.
It immediately tops my list of my favorite finds to date, for a whole host of reasons I'll get to in just a minute... but before I do let me explain how this particular treasure hunt came about.
Last fall I made the life-altering decision to resign from the ministry I worked for, quit my part-time job, and enter into a 'Season of Artistry' as I so fondly refer to it. The decision came on the heels of several months of wrestling with God, tear filled conversations with my husband, confessions of fear, and finally, the realization that none of my constant unrest was going away until I jumped headlong off the edge of reason and security. In other words, until I stepped out in faith.
It meant a lot of sacrifice and surrender and dying to myself. It meant slaying my ego on a daily basis. And in the immediate it meant giving up a paycheck, a title, a specific sense of purpose, a great deal of influence, and a handful of relationships I'd come to cherish.
It was terrifying.
In the months to follow it also meant the surrender of a whole host of other things I never could have fathomed, and in all honesty, had I realized the breadth of what God was requiring of me, the scales may never have tipped that day towards courage. But by grace, with hope, they did. And I did. And things have not looked the same since. My life, has not looked the same since.
Season of Artistry. I'm in it, fully in it these days. And it's beautiful. It's lonely, very lonely in fact. It's cost me more than I even care to really consider. It's gut-wrenchingly difficult some days. But it's beautiful. And it's right where I'm supposed to be, of this I'm certain.
Last year, as summer changed to fall and my days from answering phone calls and emails to long walks and lots of introspection, I wasn't exactly sure what I was doing. All I knew for sure was that I needed to create. I needed to write... poems, chapters, book proposals. I designed and launched this blog. I started rearranging rooms and painting furniture pieces. I cooked, a lot. I traveled a ton. I snapped endless photos. I planted a wee garden.
No matter what, I made it a point to create something every day.
I'm still doing it. Every day, creating something. I'm figuring out what's next. I'm forcing myself to do the difficult things, the things I don't want to do, the scary things. And my oh my how life has changed as a result... My marriage. My home. My relationships. My finances. My faith in God. Everything. All for the better.
I couldn't have taken that flying leap of faith without my husband. And quite frankly, had I not tiptoed my way to edge shaking and terrified... he eventually would have shoved me off the edge. You think I'm kidding. I'm not. He believes in me more than anyone and trusts God implicitly when it comes to what He's called me to. He would have shoved me. Thankfully I mustered up the courage to do it myself, which is a very good thing it turns out because it creates all kinds of confidence. But let the record show that Joshua Smith would have thrown his wife off the cliff before jumping gleefully behind her had she not done it herself.
But back to my lovely new treasure...
Somewhere in the midst of this journey God rekindled a desire in my heart for music, specifically piano music. I took piano as a kid and loved it, but I wasn't mature enough to really appreciate or commit fully, so I quit after a year or two. A few months ago I began toying with the idea of taking lessons again, reasoning doing so would be a beautiful addition to my 'season of artistry'. I told Josh, who was all for it, but still it remained only a thought for the most part.
Then came my miracle. And everything changed.
Everything in our life suddenly shifted into view, as if all along we'd been unknowingly, ever-so-slightly out of alignment, as if a subtle, comfortable haze had lifted, our world now seen in HD clarity.
On his was to work one day, Josh texted me to say the God had clearly spoken to his heart. We were entering a new season, one filled with worship and music. "I want you to find us both a place to take lessons," he told me. Tears of joy literally filled my eyes.
A trip to the music store left me feeling a little overwhelmed and slightly disappointed. I didn't want to learn on a cheap keyboard. That was not what I'd had in my heart. I wanted a piano. A real, authentic, gorgeous sounding piano. Craigslist left me empty handed, too. As a last resort I mentioned it to my mom. I should've known asking my parents to track down anything is almost infallible. They taught me everything I know regarding treasure-hunting, after all! It literally only took a couple days. She called back to inform me she'd worked a deal with my Dad to get Josh a guitar (technically it's MY guitar anyway, but that's another story ;-) and she'd also spoken with my great aunt and landed me an antique piano! I was thrilled... almost couldn't believe it.
A few days later, they both sat proudly displayed in our dining room. My Aunt Lou (whose middle name is Joy, whom my mom was named after, Shanna Joy, and thus me) is moving fairly soon and was finally ready to part with the very piano she'd learned on some 40 years ago. My great Grandaddy George had given it to her after it was abandoned by it's owner at an apartment complex in lieu of rent money. It was built in 1955 and weighs something like 400 pounds. And it's gorgeous.
I'm in LOVE with it. With it's beauty, the family history, the meaning, the way it found it's way to me... It almost brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.
As we were loading up to leave my sweet Aunt Lou-Lou looked sincerely at me and said, "Part of my heart is driving away with that piano." I assured her I'd take the best possible care of it, no question. And that I'd love it just as she did, for years and years to come. Her husband Richard also mentioned that they'd fallen in love sitting at that piano playing music together; she the piano, he the guitar. I promised to continue that tradition, as well.
Treasure of treasures, she is. I can't play too much yet, just what I remember from learning as a child, but I still sit for long moments and stroke her lovely keys anyway. And every single time Josh walks thru the dining room he taps a key or two... just because. I giggle now, almost expecting it.
It's just so beautiful, all of it. I feel almost charged to take care of her, to play her, to make beautiful music for the rest of my life, both literally and metaphorically. So much meaning, this treasure. I feel absolutely inspired.
What kind of season do you find yourself in these days??