Changing Keys

She’s my favorite pianist, by far. For forty years, I’ve been listening to her play.

I sat in my easy chair watching television yesterday as she practiced the songs she would play for the Sunday morning worship service. The longer I sat there, the more annoying the racket became.

I muted the television.

What? You thought I meant the piano was the unwanted racket? I did say she was my favorite pianist. Without the intrusive noise of the TV, I just sat and enjoyed the music.

Many times, as I have listened with my eyes closed, the music stops and she begins to play other notes — notes not in the melody of the current song. It is almost always between verses of a song and sometimes, it can become a little tedious. Again and again, she goes through the progression, trying different notes here — substituting a new chord there.

Why doesn’t she just go on to the next verse? What does she suppose she’s accomplishing?

But, I hold my tongue and bide my time. I’m sure it will happen in a moment or two. Just give her time to work it out. . .

There it is. She goes back and repeats the last phrase she had completed, along with a few notes — and a chord or two — between it and the first line of the next verse. The result is always a little surprising.

She has modulated to a different key. She’s simply changing keys, nothing more.

If all you did was listen to that part of the practice session, you might not be impressed at all. She stumbles sometimes while finding the right chord to go between the former key and the new one. Don’t tell anyone, but she might have to practice it a few times before she gets it in her head and plays it right consistently.

But, if you’re in the congregation the next morning? All you’ll know is the music is lighter — loftier — with more impact and piqued interest.

The change is worth the effort. It’s worth the trouble.

I’m changing keys, too. But, I should tell you — they’re a different kind of key.

The keys I’m referring to now are the ones in my pocket, on my key ring. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve replaced half of them with shiny new ones.

Thing is, I like the worn, slightly bent ones a little better. Maybe, a lot better.

The worn keys don’t have sharp edges. They slide into the locks they’re paired with smoothly and comfortably. No fumbling. No jiggling. No complaining under my breath.

But, the doors I used to open aren’t in use anymore — at least, not for me. Someone else will soon unlock those doors early in the morning, and later, turn the keys in the locks as they leave that evening.

I’m practicing with the new keys now. Fumbling in the dark for the right one, I feel for the lock, wishing for old comfortable doors to open in front of me.

Then again, as I consider my condition, the realization begins to dawn.

I don’t want to go back.

As I’ve walked through this world, with the companions God has generously provided for the road, there has never been a reward in going backward. Further up and Further in is where He leads.

He gives new keys to open new doors, because He wants me to trust Him and walk through them.

Whatever lies on the other side, if He gave the key, the lock will be worth opening.

Whatever lies on the other side, if He gave the key, the lock will be worth opening. Click To Tweet

New doors. Leading to new adventures. The old doors no longer open for me, their keys passing to others who need to trust as I once did.

I still trust Him.

Time to change keys.

Better and brighter things lie ahead. (Jeremiah 29:11)

He promised.


A very little key will open a very heavy door.
(Hunted Down ~ Charles Dickens ~ English writer ~ 1812–1870)

I’m pressing on the upward way.
New heights I’m gaining every day.
Still praying as I onward bound;
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
(Higher Ground ~ Johnson Oatman Jr. ~ American hymn writer ~ 1856–1922)

© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2017. All Rights Reserved.



Christ-follower, writer, Horn player, curmudgeon-in-training. Recovering hypocrite.

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Paul Phillips

Christ-follower, writer, Horn player, curmudgeon-in-training. Recovering hypocrite.