David couldn’t play the piano. Every week his mom, a single mother, brought him to me for his lesson; but she never came in with him. Week after week David tried his best to play, but he didn’t have a grasp of tone or rhythm. He didn’t quit, and he never got frustrated. He told me every week that someday his mom would hear him play.
One day David stopped coming. I didn’t hear from him again. To be honest I felt some measure of relief. The following Spring I sent notices to my current students announcing our annual, formal recital. On the day before the recital David called and begged me to let him play in the recital. I told him the recital was for my current students. But he persisted. I don’t know why, but I agreed to let him play.
The night of the recital my current students played. Parents and relatives packed the auditorium. All my current students played flawlessly. Then David came out to play. He looked disheveled in his dirty jeans and wrinkled shirt. His hair looked like he’d stuck his finger in a light socket. I wondered why his mom didn’t at least comb his hair. As he sat down to play I held my breath.
He announced he was going to play Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. Nothing could have prepared me for what I heard. David’s fingers danced up and down the keys. He played it perfectly, as well as anyone his age I’d ever heard.
After the standing ovation I went over to him and asked him why he was so eager to play in our recital. “I told you one day my mom would hear me play,” he said. “Well, she was born deaf; and this morning she died from her cancer. So tonight was the first time she got to hear me play.”
As the people from Child Services came in to take David into foster care, I thought to myself, “Tonight David was the teacher and I was the student.”
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A story on the Gift Of Inspiration website inspired me to write this message.