How an Italian pianist and composer inspired me

First published in the BC Catholic Newspaper on February 28, 2022

I don’t know if it’s the cold, fog, and rain that have permeated my interior landscape. Or if it’s feeling stuck in a pandemic or having a lack of peace. Whenever I get into a funk, I look for inspiration. It could be from music, a quote from a saint, or a new colourful shirt. Where I need to look for inspiration is from Jesus.

Listening to stories of other people who have come through some sort of trial when I’m stuck in a rut gives me hope.

Alberto Giurioli, an Italian pianist and composer, and I connected on Instagram. He shared his neoclassical piano music, which is available on many platforms. I liked the first few songs I listened to, Following Yourself and Tutto è bellissimo.

I said to him in a direct message, “I’m already editing my column to your piano music.” And he replied, “Cool, glad you like what I do.”

What I found to be heartening is that he is a mental health warrior too. He’s fought to stay here when it got tough. When he was a little boy, he started playing piano. At one point he wanted to give up on learning when bored, and his hands hurt from playing a grand piano. His parents encouraged him to continue, and that is when he began to like it.

Alberto was away from family in London for a while. He was struggling to stay there and fight for his dream. When a journalist’s video of him playing a street piano went viral, that kicked off his career. He has played in many theatres that have sold out and has millions of downloads on Spotify, etc.

It is a struggle to always feel the gift of life when depressed or despairing. Though I am not depressed, I am tired of this winter and so many restraints with COVID. I pray for the end of COVID and the return to more social interactions.

In reading Scripture, the words from Matthew 8:7 jumped off the page for me. “I will come and cure him.” Oh, how I would love to receive a cure from my mental illness. And Jesus doesn’t want us to suffer. He wants us to be free of disease, addiction, and sin. I am learning to hope with greater spirit in his power to heal. I imagine what it would be like for him to heal me too. Especially when reading about the miracles he performed in the Scripture passages.

It is not impossible. It’s something that I never entertained to ask for. Until a few friends asked if I would like to receive prayers for physical healing.

My mind needs restoration. Healing for healthy neurotransmitters and rewiring of fear-based pathways .

My first response is to doubt that Jesus would ever do something this grand for me. I know someone who lives without the problems of bipolar disorder. Even though she has a diagnosis. What faith I would need to have to ask the Lord for what he desires for me!

God is good and won’t let me down. Healing can take time. And it’s amazing how I have everything I need in the moment from him. I am never left without his love.

The gift of being alive is an act of his love. He loves us, and we exist in that love.

It was a pleasure to find Alberto’s music. He offers his talent to add beauty to the lives of others. It is inspiring how he is using his gift for the world.

And when I’m bored, uninspired, or lacking peace, I ask myself if Jesus is in the centre. Have I been putting him first? Or am I disappointed with the distractions of my own making?

“He will come in His own time, and when you least expect it. Hope in Him more than ever” (The Practice of the Presence of God: A 40-Day Devotion Based on Brother Lawrence’s The Practice of the Presence of God).

Trusting God through the long haul even when your path forward isn’t clear is hard to do. I don’t know if I will be cured of my mental illness or if it will be a lifelong challenge. I don’t know how long the pandemic will go on. I do know that winter ends and spring will come.

I look forward to spending more time with Jesus during Lent to believe in his healing love. And to listening to beautiful music from talented artists.

Lisa Rumpel’s podcast, The Will to Thrive: Stories of Resilience, is available on popular streaming services.


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