When I was four years old, my parents had the idea of sticking me in piano lessons. It was actually quite random considering no one in my family played an instrument. I’ll never forget my first piano lesson. I fell in love with sounds of the scale. It was strange how I had just been introduced to the piano and yet for someone reason the piano already felt like home.
My teacher’s name was Mrs. Barefoot. She wrote her name down so I would remember it, but instead of writing her name out she signed “Mrs.” in front of a little drawing of a foot. I knew right then we were going to be good friends. She taught me the basic scale and was amazed at how quickly I seemed to pick up different chords and their progressions.
Then came the day where I got to learn an actual song to play. My teacher opened the book to the song “Pop goes the weasel.” My heart raced! I couldn’t believe I was finally going to learn an actual song! “Ok, Megan, I’m going to play the song for you so you can hear how it’s supposed to sound. Then we will start to learn it together.” “Ok!” I said excitedly.
Then she played and I was in awe. It was the most beautiful song I had ever heard. What made it so beautiful was knowing that soon I would be able to play this song myself. I closed my eyes and took in each note and sound. Then just like that the song was over. I opened my eyes and she was looking at me smiling. “OK, Megan, you ready?” My hands were already in position to start playing.
“Now Megan, you must remember to be patient with yourself. Learning a song takes lots of practi-” she abruptly stopped. I was already playing it, and when I say “playing it” I don’t mean learning to play it. Somehow I was able to play the exact song back to her. Her mouth fell open. “Wow, can you do that again?” I did, a couple of times. Finally, after assuming she had heard enough I stopped playing and looked up at her. She sat there stunned.
“Was that ok?” I asked. She blinked “Yes! That was very good actually!!” Here Megan I’m going to play you a song and you try to play it back to me.” “Ok” I said, unaware of what was going on. She played another song. I played it back to her. We did this a couple more times and next thing you know the lesson was over.
My mom came to pick me up and said “How did she do today?” My teacher began to gush ” Your daughter has a gift! I just played several songs she didn’t know and she was able to play them right back to me! She plays by ear!” “Wow” my mom said smiling and looking at me. “That’s great!” As we went to leave, my teacher just kept saying to herself “What a gift, especially being so young! What a gift!” I remember looking out the window in the car on the ride home, shocked that I was so naturally good at something. I then looked at my hands. I clearly recall thinking, “I am good at something, and I didn’t even know it.“
I went on to play the piano for the rest of my life. I played on worship teams, at retirement homes, for different outreaches etc. My love for music only grew then I started singing and writing songs. I sang in choirs and in church. Music became like a dear friend to me. It was the way I expressed my soul. My mom said she could always tell what kind of day I was having based on what I was playing on the piano. Music has always been such a huge part of me, but before that first piano lesson I had no idea.
I think about that first piano lesson often. I think about the initial choice my parents made to just stick me in piano and “give it a try.” Little did they know that in the heart of that four year old girl was a musical soul dying to come out. What if my parents never put me in that piano lesson? How long would I have walked through life being made for something that I had no idea about?
How long would I have walked through life being made for something that I had no idea about?
Flash forward years later. I am now in junior high. School was getting ready to let out for the summer and my friend I were talking about our plans. She told me she was going to play soccer that summer. “You should sign up this year and play!” she squealed. I looked behind me for a moment thinking she was talking to someone else. Surely she wasn’t talking to the chubby, clearly un-athletic girl standing in front of her. She was! “C’mon Megan it will be fun!!! Just think about it and talk to your parents.”
I thought about it. I knew clearly I wasn’t built for athletic glory. I also knew that I loved to socialize, and that a lot of my friends would be there. If nothing else I could pick weeds off of the field, and crack jokes at halftime while we ate snacks. I went to my parents that night and asked if I could play. They were a little surprised, but then shrugged and said “Sure. Why not?”
I requested being on the same team as my friend, but ended up on a team full of strangers. They were very cliquey and had been playing together since kindergarten. The leader of the pack walked over to me smacking her gum. “So how long have you played?” “Oh um, this is my first year.” She smirked and look at the girl next to her. “So you don’t even know what position you play?” “Um no I guess not.” “Great,” she muttered and walked off. “Well this is going to be fun.” I thought to myself.
The first game I was terrified. While most of the girls were doing warm up and stretches, I was going through the motions, fervently praying under my breath, that the ball would stay away from me. Ten minutes into the game, my prayers looked like they had been answered. Then all of a sudden, it happened. The other team got a breakaway and I was the only one between the goalie and the girl with the ball. “EFF!” I started to panic when something came over me. I took off running towards the girl with the ball with all of my might.
She kicked the ball ahead of her confident she could out run me. Then I ran faster. I sped past her, snatched the ball, and kicked the ball out of bounds so I could give my team time to come back and reset. Everyone was stunned. I was stunned. I couldn’t believe I so easily out ran that girl. Doughy, out of shape me, outran someone! I spent the rest of the game out hustling everyone to the ball.
At halftime, the leader of the pack came over to me with her arms crossed. “So you’re fast. Why didn’t you say you could run so fast?” “Well, I didn’t know that I could.” She stared at me a moment then said “Well, good job! and walked off. At the end of the game the coaches ran over to my parents ” Your daughter has a gift!!! I can’t believe this is her first year playing!! She runs SO fast!!” I remember going home that day amazed “How did I not know that I could run like the wind?” I went on to play more years of soccer. I got in shape. I ran track. Yet I can’t help but wonder, what if I had never “just tried” soccer? How many more years would I have gone in life not knowing that I was indeed athletic?
“Alright, Megan, we get it! You played the piano and played soccer and were surprisingly good at both. What does this have to do with anything? And what is this whole “Discover Diaries” thing all about?”
I’ll tell you.
At 29 years old, I find myself wondering about the hidden things within myself. What if there are gifts, talents and abilities that I have that I don’t even know about? What if the plans God has for my life rest in those gifts? What if what I know about myself is only the beginning? What if those ridiculous thoughts I have to “just try this thing” are actually invitations to further discover why I was actually born? Maybe those ridiculous thoughts aren’t so ridiculous after all. Perhaps they are clues. Maybe they are clues that lead like a treasure map to the priceless treasure trove of divine purpose and destiny.
My focus this year is to try all of those things I have wanted to try since as long as I could remember. This time I’ll ignore the voice that tells me I’m not worth it. This time I won’t let fear tell me what to do. This year will be full of discovery. I’m not just after the new places and experiences, but more interested in discovering what has been hidden in my heart all of these years. I look forward to sharing about this journey with you all. Even more than that though, I look forward to connecting with others and hearing their story. After all, we all have a diary of discovery waiting to be written.