Thursday, November 24, 2016

Play Me

While walking down the sidewalk, enjoying a festival in an economically-depressed small town, I came upon the scene in the photo to the left.

I stood there mesmerized while the little girl plunked away at the tired keys.  She obviously had never had a piano lesson, but that did not dampen her enjoyment at all.  It probably heightened it.

I was struck with the idea--so simple--that We Can Do Little Things That Make a Big Difference.

There is the possibility that the opportunity to play this piano will lead to an interest in studying music.  This would undeniably be a great return on the investment of making the piano available to festival goers.  But even if no one was inspired to learn music, what a fabulous expression of goodwill!  I believe that such acts create good returns, even if they appear to be invisible.

Recently I noticed an old and scarred baby grand piano on display in my local community center.  It was roped off, but there was a small placard on it that explained that the instrument had been used to teach piano lessons to local children for 30 years.  I marveled at the remarkable impact this piano most likely has had on our town, probably with immeasurable ripple effects of goodness that have echoed throughout the country.  I am grateful to whomever had the insight to put it on display.  So often we are encouraged to publicly admire the big industrialist.  His impact can be measured in dollars, so he easily gains recognition.

I struggle to remember these lessons.  I have gotten caught up in all the national election hoopla.  Yes, the president of the United States is important.  But we cannot discount the importance of the little local things that we can do.  Locally, we can have a far bigger impact than nationally.  

I have been reminded since the election that even a smile matters.  With all the news about the animosity of different groups, I realized that I was beginning to expect people to be unfriendly to me.  I have been enormously relieved to have my expectations proved completely unfounded.  Representatives of the different groups have gone out of their way to greet me with warm smiles and welcoming eyes--to politely and cheerfully say, "Excuse me," as they pass by me in the grocery store.

I happily return the greeting and remind myself to take a break from the news, even the alternative news, and to make decisions on my own experience.

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