"I know she really appreciates the music...Thank you so much for coming" said the patient's roommate. I continued the music with 'How Great Thou Art' and after the first verse, I heard a soft voice sing along as I played. I looked around the room, the patient remained asleep and the roommate watched peacefully from her bed. There was a woman lingering by the doorway in her wheelchair. She smiled at me and continued to sing while I wondered how long she had been there.
After the music, the roommate said that she always enjoyed listening to the violin and hoped I would return soon. I packed up my belongings and had in mind to talk to the Activities Director. I didn't see the woman in the wheelchair from before. To my surprise, the facility hired a new Activities Director and we struck up a conversation. Meanwhile, the woman in the wheelchair casually strolled by. We wrapped up the conversation and I headed towards the exit. My mind raced as I thought about the next patient, performances, scales and music to practice, laundry that's been sitting in the dryer for days, a messy car..."excuse me" I turned and saw the woman in the wheelchair. She reached for a paper that she dropped on the floor. I rushed over and handed her the paper, she stretched out her hand and I took hold. "Thank you for the beautiful music. You have such a gift." Before I could reply, she bowed her head and began praying. I couldn't make out the words but I stood still and listened. I didn't let go of her hand until she was ready. "Amen. Thank you for the music. You're doing great work."
I thought about that moment throughout the week and I believe our encounter is how I remembered to put aside my ego, weariness, unwillingness, and lean on God. The following day, I played at a funeral for a Hospice patient. She was 104 and loved music. The next day I gave a performance at a new Assisted Living Facility when all I wanted to do was put my violin down and sit on a bench. I'm still processing music sessions and trying to play for as many people as possible. Trying to be sure I'm practicing repertoire for lessons with my teacher or music upcoming performances. She's an amazing teacher and I don't want to waste the time I have with her.
Yesterday, I went to play for a patient and I didn't want to. I honestly needed a break to process experiences from earlier in the week but I knew how ecstatic the family was since the first time I played for the patient. They strongly expressed joy during the music and it reminded me of church during my childhood. I felt uncomfortable. I wondered why and I knew it was because of my ego. I liked things a certain way and volume. I remembered the woman in the wheelchair so I played hymns. I knew the patient enjoyed hymns and the response was unexpected. The family and staff began sobbing tears of joy. I kept playing even when I wanted to stop. I was emotionally taxed. I kept going because that time and space wasn't for me. I wanted to go home but I kept playing. The staff at the assisted living facility where the patient resided began to cry and call out to God. I really wanted to stop but I kept playing because if it weren't because of God's grace, I would have quit violin years ago.
This week isn't over. I have a lesson with my teacher to keep preparing for, performances, and music sessions to continually unpack in my mind. I'll never forget what the daughter of the patient told me at the funeral. "I hope our paths cross again." I'm sure they will. I am grateful I could play for her mom one last time and thankful the music had a positive impact. I know this journey isn't about me. I'm not trying to prove I'm awesome. I'm just trying my best and often times come short yet even still, I'm given grace that helps me play for others despite wanting to sit and stare into nothing.