Submitted by Roger Button
Chaplain – Clark County YMCA
Most years our YMCA hosts a Christian Leadership Conference at Camp Collins. In 2014 we had Jose Perez speaking on “Transformational YMCAs.” We had music, fellowship, great food and breakout sessions; it was a super weekend. That is only the beginning of the story.
After the conference was over, one of the participants contacted me and asked if she could talk with me. This individual had been through a series of very traumatic experiences, and was suffering from a number of issues because of these experiences. Our sessions began over the phone as she did not feel comfortable speaking face to face (just one of the factors from the trauma).
I knew that it was above my “paygrade,” so to speak and that she needed the help of someone with more training than I had, but she did not want to go to someone else: it was a trust thing. I continued to stay in right relationship with her as we worked through her issues. I stayed in close contact with my psychologist group for guidance and resources. As the counseling progressed, I discovered that this person not only had a love for music, but a love for helping kids learn to love music. I mentioned that we did not have a music program at our YMCA.
The next day she was in my office, a major breakthrough.
We discussed what a music program might look like and what would be needed. I know nothing about music, I play a harmonica; poorly.
I asked her, “What kind of instruments do you need?”
She said, “A piano, because all the notes are right there in front of you.”
I said, “Ok, any special type of piano?”
She replied, “A Baby Grand would be nice.”
I knew that I would never get a Baby Grand piano so I suggested that we go down to the local music store and see if there were any keyboards that we could get cheaply. We went to the music store. I talked with the music guys at the store. I was doing my best to influence them into a partnership. They said that they would love to help. While we were at the store I noticed that I was running late to my next meeting which was with a group of CEO’s: business leaders in the community. We meet to talk about their work, their companies, and what it would look like if they realized that it was not their company, but Christ’s company. The group is called “Christ at Work.”
When I got to the meeting, the leader wasn’t there yet. As we waited for him to show up I told my story of the girl, her dream of a music program, and how she wanted a Baby Grand piano. We laughed when I told them that I redirected her to a keyboard. There was absolutely no way that I could get a Baby Grand piano.
The group leader arrived. He is very hard of hearing. He walked into the meeting room and was all excited. He walked up to me and said, “Roger, I have to tell you what happened this morning!”
I said, “Ok.”
He said, “I was spending time with God this morning and all of a sudden a voice said to me, ‘The YMCA needs a music program.”
I sat back and started really listening. The rest of the guys scooted closer and leaned in. He went on to say, “Five years ago I bought a piano. I was always going to remodel my house and make a music room. I have been storing this piano the whole time and my wife does not even know that I have it. The YMCA needs a music program.”
I said, “What I am hearing you say is, you have a piano to donate to the YMCA for a music program and you want me to see if the YCMA will accept it?”
He said, “Yes, that is what I am saying.”
I said, “Ok, I have to run the idea past my executive director.”
He said, “Ok.”
I looked at him and said, “I have one question. What type of piano is it?”
He said, “Oh, it’s a Baby Grand, Brazilian Cherry, a guy was in the music business and wanted to get rid of it so I bought it.”
You should have seen the other people in the room when he said it was a Baby Grand. I shared my story with him about the girl, the counseling, the music program, and how she wanted a Baby Grand. I told him how I was trying to get a keyboard because there was no way I would be able to get a Baby Grand piano.
The joke of the day was, I attended Christ at Work to help these men see God in the everydayness of their lives and to trust Him with their lives. I was the one running around looking for a keyboard because God would never give me a Baby Grand, or so I thought.
Once again, I proved I’m an idiot.
I called the girl and told her what had happened.
She said, “I cannot believe that an hour after I asked for a piano you found me one.”
I replied, “I did not find you one, God found you one. Not only did He find you a piano, but He found you the piano you requested, not only the piano you requested but one that you never thought you could have. This is God, not me.”
Did I tell you that she is really mad at God because of the things that have happened to her? They guys got all excited and said, “Let’s go to the YMCA and see where we are going to put it.”
I told them that I still had to ask my executive director for permission first but they weren’t listening; this is something that I am working on with them, listening skills.
The entire trip to the YMCA I prayed that my executive director would be gone at a meeting or something. My hope was that the group would walk in and talk about where they thought the piano should go and leave without ever seeing my executive director.
No such luck.
I was still praying to God as we walked into the YMCA, and there, at the front desk, stood my executive director. The guys pounced on him like a bunch of vultures. They all talked at once about this piano that he has no idea of. He stood there listening to them.
When they finally left, he walked into my office and said, “We are not putting a piano in the YMCA.”
I just looked at him.
He is saying no way, and God is obviously wanting a piano in the YMCA: I wondered what would happen.
This all happened on a Friday.
The weekend came and went without a word from my executive director. Monday came and went, still not a word from my executive director.
7 a.m. Tuesday morning, my executive director stood in my office waiting for me. I walked in, not knowing what to expect.
He said, “Ok, where are we going to put this piano?”
I said, “What?”
He said, “I went home Friday saying there is no way I am going to put a Baby Grand piano in the YMCA. We don’t know anything about pianos, how do we keep it safe and in shape to play? There are too many things that can go wrong. There is no way I am putting a piano in the YMCA. I came in Monday morning and my light on my voicemail was blinking. The person said they had a donation for the YMCA, so I called them. They had a piano. Another person called and wanted to know if we needed a piano. By the end of the day I finally looked up and said, ‘Ok God, I get it, stop bombing me with pianos.”
We have a Baby Grand piano in our lobby.
We are working on getting a music program going.
Our piano girl still has her issues, but we are working on them. It will take more time, but she is healing.
The funny thing about God, He doesn’t check with me first before He does something. I guess that is because He is the boss and I am not.