There’s this ritual I do when I release an object that has held a meaningful place in my heart. First, I pause and recognize that while it may be a small thing to those around me, this moment is significant to me, and I need to visit with the why. And then second, I speak over “the thing,” thank God for His provision in and through it, and thank Him for the new chapter ahead for myself and others benefitting from this change.

I revisited this ritual last week when I gave away the piano I grew up on. It has been with me for 52 years, sitting in every living room of every home I’ve ever lived in.  An old friend, its very presence has replayed sweet memories for me over a lifetime. Additionally, it was a player piano, (see here for a tutorial if you don’t know what that is), and much laughter and happy times were spent singing old songs with loved ones. But in the past few years, the piano has quietly collected dust. In truth, my goal to return to my old friend fell by the wayside, and the only time I have touched it recently is to dust it.

When something we have serves only to be dusted and not delighted in, it has lost its service to us. It is taking up space and needs to move on to a place where it can once again have purpose, be a source of joy, and be used as an instrument for building relationships and fond memories. While I cherished my history with that old instrument, I recognized it was time for us both to move on. Our era together was completed, and it was time to send it onward where it could have another fruitful life with another musician.

In letting go of the piano, I also had to recognize I wasn’t saying I no longer was a musician.  Although it does appear so. But I know better. She’s still in there but sleeping and she’s been sleeping soundly for quite a while. Perhaps she is to be reawakened in another time and place, by another instrument. Just as that piano awakened the musical side of me, it was time for it to awaken the musicality in others. And it will.

And so, in the release and the goodbye, I walked through the previously mentioned ritual of gratefulness. And there is much for which to be grateful.

I am grateful for the talent I was able to develop playing that piano, a gift from my parents to our family. I am grateful for the ability to express myself creatively and passionately through music back when I needed an outlet, as an angsty teenager. I am grateful for the gift of performing, learning that I preferred performance to be a private thing. I learned much later that Dad had been watching and listening, and was proud of my talent. Even at 58, that moves me to tears.

I am grateful for the discipline practicing the piano developed within me. Two hours a day was a commitment during my school days, and it forged some much-needed inner discipline. Tackling a difficult piece taught me a different form of problem-solving: sometimes you just must walk away from it, and when you return, it all flows freely.  Practicing piano developed perseverance in me, a quality that was in short supply in my young character.

I am grateful for experiencing the exquisite joy of music flowing through my entire being, magically moving my hands as if I had no control over them.  Watching my hands float and fly over the keys also awakened an amazement at what I was later to learn was neuromuscular coordination. Yup, it all started there on the piano bench, during those long hours of practicing.

Where is the piano now? It just arrived at its new home and is nestled happily with a dear friend and her family. The entire family is musical and in need of a piano, and the arrival of this instrument was an unexpected delight for them. The kids are in elementary and middle schools, and excited to begin messing around on the keys. They’re all looking forward to firing up the player piano mechanism, playing those old player piano rolls, and singing “Down By the Old Mill Stream” among others.

This is the beginning of a new era for my friend and her family, as well as my family piano. Together, they all will share in new episodes of laughter. There will be new skills acquired, the unleashing of new talent, the slow building of new character, and with it the glorious gift of discovery that the world of music unveils.

And the space where the piano once stood? The antique marble-topped walnut server that I found with my mom years ago, stands in my old friend’s space.  I have fond memories of antiquing with my mom when I was a little girl, and I remember the moment of discovery of this gem, and my mom’s delight. Mom re-finished it and re-stained it beautifully. And then for decades, it stood near the front door of my parents’ home, greeting visitors with a punch bowl, appetizers, and festive napkins. And now it stands at attention, near Grandma’s dining room table, ready to carry on its gracious history of hospitality.

Mom’s Walnut Server


And so, the letting go of one heirloom, made space for the repurposing of another. And I am indeed grateful.

How about you? Is there an item that you treasure that’s collecting dust? Can you brush it off and give it a new life? Would that mean releasing it, allowing it to go where it can bring new joy? And if there is resistance to letting go, where is that coming from?  Maybe it’s not yet time. Or maybe it is.

It’s something to think about.

May you have joy-filled days as you enjoy your treasures with loved ones.