Cheryl's Blog

Stairway to heaven

The restaurant was noisy but festive and we’d just been seated at a high-top table near the window when a waitress came to take our drink order. Michael and I were having dinner with a colleague and his wife, Martha, a new acquaintance.

During our dinner conversation, Martha happened to mention her love of painting.

“I love a winter scene and can stand for hours on a mat in the snow painting what I see,” she declared.

Have you always painted, I asked?

“No,” she said, “Three years ago I could barely draw a stick figure but now it’s become a legit love affair. Have a look.”

Martha grabbed her phone and scrolled through four paintings – a portrait, a still life of apples, and two stunning nature scenes.”

Wow, I guess you can paint, I said to Martha, impressed by her ability. These are gorgeous!

What Martha had accomplished in three years was shocking. She was nearing seventy, had never painted before, and now clearly claimed this art form.

Ok, what’s your secret, I asked, excited to hear her response because I’ve always wanted to study piano but have repeatedly succumbed to the voices that say, you’re too old to learn an instrument, you’ll just be disappointed, and it will be too hard.

“Here’s the secret,” Martha whispered, leaning in for effect. “You have to hang in there when it gets hard. Period. If you keep going, you’ll tumble over into joy.”

Three days later I booked my first piano lesson, and here’s what happened…

My teacher, a young man in his twenties who teaches school kids so I figured I was in good hands, started our lesson by asking: “What kind of music do you like, Cheryl? Can you play anything now?”

In a shy, squeaky voice I admitted that I could play the first eight notes of Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin.

“Oh, do you like Led Zeppelin,” he asked?

Yes, I have loved them ever since I was a teenager. I listened to every song and memorized all the lyrics.

“Well, this is awesome,” exclaimed Josh, eyes mirroring the excited list of ideas ticking through his brain. “We’re going to start by learning Led Zeppelin!”

I blushed, mentally dismissing his inflated expectations because I knew better. Or at least I thought so. Funny how life has a way of smacking you upside the head when you get in your own way.

Turns out, Josh is a classically trained musician who loves rock music. He’s been a member of a Led Zeppelin tribute band for years.

Of course he is….

I’m happy to report that when you’re willing to ignore the voices that aim to keep you safe, you can trust life to grab you by the hand and lead the way.

Yes, joy is available at every age.

Stay tuned. This new adventure might turn out to be my own stairway to heaven 😀.