BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. (FOX 9) - With a look around Linda Dieken’s home in Ham Lake, it’s easy to see she’s made a life out of playing music.
Dieken started playing the piano at 5 years old, and at that age, it might’ve been her first love. Since then, she’s composed Christmas music and other melodies on the grand piano that became the centerpiece of her home for two decades.
However, over the last three years, the music has gone quiet, because Dieken is now mainly unable to lift her arms or use some of her fingers after a recent diagnosis of ALS.
"A year ago, August, they gave me one to three years. I’m still here, so whatever God‘s plan is, this is a win-win. When the time comes, I know where I’m going, I get to go to heaven. And the joy I have knowing where this piano gets to go, I’m thrilled," Dieken told FOX 9 on Wednesday.
Even in the face of so many challenges, she is living a life filled with joy. Her lifetime mission is to help more people find Jesus through music, and now she’s decided to donate her treasured piano to Brooklyn Park’s Salvation Army Worship Center.
"I hope they have as much joy of receiving it as I did donating it," Dieken said.
One year after an arsonist torched the church in Brooklyn Park, the congregation is moving forward, and Dieken’s replacement piano is the final piece to their puzzle.
"Even as I listen to it, it sounds really in tune, really connected," Salvation Army Captain Daniel Simmons said. "People would connect with the sound, but also with the story."
His congregation is amazed by Dieken’s generosity, "The piano is a great gift, but she’s really the gift," he finished.
Dieken explained, "I turned on the TV. I saw you do the special. I just was intrigued by it, and then all of a sudden when they talked about the piano, I instantly knew. This is God’s plan. I know I need to find a new home for this piano that I love."