It was the summer of 2006, and I was living in Des Moines, Iowa, with my roommate, Steph. I was in charge of an at-risk program for youth; she worked part-time at a coffee shop in Ames, Iowa, about 35 miles outside of Des Moines.
She called me one day and told me about an old, upright piano that sat towards the back of the cafe. Dusty and terribly out of tune, the owner announced that he was planning on pushing it out into the alley to see if anyone would take it. "I know someone who might like it, " she said.
That someone was me. I grew up playing the piano and studied seriously for twelve years. After confirming that it only needed a good tuning, I told her I would love to have it. It was hard for me to imagine receiving a piano for free. "What's the catch?" I asked. "The catch is that we have to figure out a way to get it from Ames to Des Moines," she responded. Fair enough!
I quickly got to work on rounding up men I knew at my workplace. Many of them were always willing to serve. I talked to a few different ones over the span of a week, but nothing seemed to work out. I spoke to Steph about it and told her I was at peace if I did not end up with the piano. I didn't currently own one, so I wouldn't know the difference.
One morning while at work, I received a phone call. It was Steph. She told me, "Hey, Giana, I just want you to know that my parents and I are driving the piano to Des Moines right now. Please pray that we can get it into our duplex." I was completely humbled. They were driving the piano all this way for me? I said that yes, of course I would pray, and we agreed that if it did not fit they would drop it off at Goodwill. I continued to be at peace about the whole situation and went right back to teaching.
A couple of hours later, Steph called again. This time, she had different news: "I'm so sorry, Giana. We did everything we could do, but the piano didn't fit through the front door." We lived on the bottom story of a duplex, and the front door opened up to a small hallway with three doors: the door on the left for our duplex, the one across from it on the right leading to the basement, and the second door on the right that led to the duplex upstairs. I understood why it was a hard space to maneuver. I thanked her and told her to thank her parents—a teacher and a coach—from the bottom of my heart. It meant so much to me that they would serve me in such a way.
My heart was perfectly at peace, and with ten at-risk students to cater to, I went on with my day. Shortly after lunch, I saw that I had a voicemail. Once again, it was my roommate, saying, "Um, there's a surprise waiting for you in the living room when you get home. Call me when you see it because I have the story of the century for you!" Steph was not a dramatic person, and those were big words she had used. My heart skipped a beat.
After pulling into our parking garage, I slowly walked up the backstairs to our home. I didn't want to get too excited, but I knew what was waiting for me. Opening the back door of the kitchen, I carefully put one foot in front of the other and peered into the living room. There it was. The old, mahogany upright piano that was now mine. It looked so grand!
I immediately called Steph and asked her what happened. "Well," she relayed, "on our way from Ames to Des Moines we were praying that the Lord would send us help. We knew we weren't going to be able to move the piano by ourselves. It's a monster. Shortly after I talked to you, my dad was pulling away from our place and a random, black man asked if we needed help with the piano. My dad said, 'Thank you so much for offering, sir, but we have already tried fitting the piano into the duplex and it's not going to work.' The man responded, 'I don't mean to be a bother, but will you show me the space you were trying to fit it in?' My dad agreed since we had not left yet. The man said, 'Here's what we need to do. We need to unhinge this front door and the door leading to the duplex, and prop the piano on it's side. It's going to fit. I move pianos for a living.' I move pianos for a living?! Who moves pianos for a living, Giana?!" I could scarce believe my ears.