Falling Pianos


Someone criticized a wise mother for telling her son who was learning to drive, “Watch out for pianos falling from the sky!” She was right. Pianos do fall from the sky.

Recently, I took driving lessons. One criticism leveled against me by the instructor was erring on the side of caution: expecting pedestrians to step off the sidewalk in front of me, dogs on a leash to rush into the street, or vehicles to appear unexpectedly when I stopped at a “Give Way” sign. (No simple “Stop” signs at intersections in this part of Scotland.) The instructor didn’t understand. I’ve had my share of falling pianos.

When a doctor tells you, “Your spouse has cancer. It’s terminal,” that’s a piano falling out of the sky. When your boss says, “You’re laid off,” that’s a piano falling from the sky. When an editor tells you, “I like your writing style, but your books aren’t selling, so I’m releasing you from your contract, it’s a falling piano. When you get word that your son died in a plane crash – that’s a huge piano that keeps crashing down from the sky.

Perhaps a good New Year’s Resolution would be: Learn to Expect Falling Pianos. And when one of them falls into your life, comfort yourself with Romans 8:28: “All things work together for good to those who love the Lord.”

We dodged a falling piano today. We took our six-year-old rough collie to the vet to talk about letting her go. It was heartbreaking. But as if Angel Joy understood our conversation, she rallied herself against the nerve disorder that is stealing her life and health and showed enough spark that the vet said, “It might be a bit premature to make that decision today.” Whew! The piano fell out of the sky without hitting anyone!

May all of y’all be blessed in 2017. May any piano from the sky that falls into your life this year make a harmless landing.



Christmas = Freedom

One of the hardest things I’ve done in my adult life was to complete driving lessons here in the U.K. and take the driving test. After 48 years of driving my way – I had to learn to drive someone else’s way.


Until a person passes the driving test here, they must attach “L” plates (Learner Driver) on their vehicle every time they get behind the wheel. The L plates must be taken off again when a licensed driver gets behind the wheel. We’ve been held captive by L plates four years, putting them on when I drive, taking them off when Alan drives, and replacing them when the wind blows them away. Needless to say, a learner driver can only drive the car with a licensed driver beside them.

If I had realized what a sense of freedom would follow passing the test and discarding the L plates, I would have done it sooner. It’s a Christmas gift to myself – freedom. This spring, I can take the car out hunting for adders to photograph. Alan, who is not keen on snakes of any size or kind, can stay home.

Christmas is about freedom. We decorate in glad joyful colors, we send Christmas card with Baby Jesus in the manger, we cook a lovely meal for family and friends, we exchange gifts – but the reason for the season is freedom.

Jesus was born into this world as a baby, but that’s not the end of the story. The end of the story is His death – which purchased our freedom. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but should have everlasting life.” John 3:16.

Jesus died for us, but that’s not the end of the story. The end of the story is His resurrection. Jesus arose from the grave and lives forever. He lives inside us in the form of the Holy Spirit if we invite Him.

Christmas = Freedom. “O Death, where is your sing? O Hades, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Just as UK law can no more hold me to having another driver beside me or putting L plates on the car because passing the test purchased my freedom from that law, Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection purchased our freedom from death and gifted us with eternal life.

Jesus is the reason for the season – but so is freedom.