Many thanks to my friend, Jan Lacher, for writing this post today – JPK
This past Monday night, I cried some lukewarm tears.
My three older children played piano pieces for their yearly piano recitals. Christina played Firefly Fandango by Bober. David performed Beethoven’s Sonata, c#minor,Op.27#2, Adagio. My senior, Jonathon, performed Chopin’s famous Nocturne Eb Major. It was bitter-sweet listening to Jonathon, realizing that it would probably be his last performance that I would be privileged to hear. Eleven years of practice and recitals will be done. Sigh… Warm tears dripped onto my starched, white blouse even as I was biting my thumb nails and holding my breathe until it was over. Such is the torture of a parent.
At one point in the evening though, I had tears for another reason.
One of our good friend’s daughters, the youngest of six children, performed a phenomenal piece. Eight-year old Julia played A Touch of a Dream by Cuellar with beauty and grace. She is gifted musically, as her other siblings are.
While she performed it, I realized that she was only six weeks older than Michael. Michael seems so much younger. Of course, mentally, he is. I could not help noticing the contrast between her and Michael as she gracefully approached the grand piano and displayed her musical gifts even as Michael bounced away in his wheelchair in the church foyer.
I was not at all jealous of her ability. I was not envious. But, a deep sorrow set in at that realization, and lukewarm tears dripped, dripped, and dripped. I loved listening to the music and rejoiced with her parents at her beautiful performance. But, it was shadowed with the loss of all the possibilities that could have been for Michael.
How do I think about this without becoming overwhelmed with grief?
Events like piano recitals seem to punctuate disability with an exclamation point. I need to have a way to think about his life without becoming overwhelmed with grief. So in my mind, I am learning to shift my attention and fast-forward it to a time when some day, Michael will be made whole. There will be a time when he will have full functionality and will have the ability to learn “the masters” and so much more.
I look forward to that reality. But in the meantime, I am learning to be content and patient with the truth and hope that the Gospel brings. Maybe some day both Michael and I will have the opportunity, with perfection and zeal, to perform on a keyboard a duet called the Hungarian Rhapsody. I envision how with high drama we will smoke the keys together. Instead of lukewarm tears, there will be tears of joy and gladness.
What a glorious time that will be.