There are times that we are profoundly changed at moments we least expect to be. Last night was such for me, my family, and our Gateway community. We dutifully went to the Solo and Ensemble Concert at our children's school. Upon sitting I looked at the program printed on bright yellow paper. From top to bottom was crammed the names of every performer. Honestly, it was with a cringe that I counted 37 numbers to sit through. We are talking beginning violinists squeaking out Hot Cross Buns, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and even Jingle Bells. Just my luck my child was number 35.
An hour and half into the program we finally got to my 14 year old son Aaron. My handsome, gifted, intelligent son has struggled with Social Anxiety Disorder since he was a toddler. He hid under the table at kindergarten registration. He sat on the sideline of gym class until third grade because he was paralyzed by the thought of someone looking at him while he participated. Although he has an immense musical gift he could not share it. Even at his short lived try at piano lessons he would only softly touch the keys while the teacher watched. There was never a sound that came from the keys. He was too anxious to let the teacher hear him. The stress of this disorder would send him into DAYS of constant vomiting.
Imagine my disbelief when he walked out on stage BY HIMSELF, stood before the snare drum, clearly introduced himself into the microphone no less, and PLAYED THE DRUM. Not just played it but smoked it. He rocked the house. At the end, he gave a cool smile, flipped and caught his his drums sticks, and slunk off the stage. My husband and I certainly had tears in our eyes. People in the audience had NO IDEA the significance of those 2 minutes and 14 seconds. But I knew and my son did too.
As I basked in this unexpected growth passage the next performer was taken by the crook of the elbow and lead by the young orchestra mistress to center stage. Was this child blind I wondered? She looked to be about 12 or 13 as she fidgeted with her hair. It was soon apparent that this sweet child had serious neurological challenges. The orchestra teacher moved to the mic and told us this child was named Angel and it was her vocal debut. Then the teacher went on to read a note written by Angel's mother who exhorted the audience to judge Angel by her heart and not her talent. By now Angel was so excited that her arms were jerking around her face and she could not stand still.
The choir children quietly filed onto the stage and knelt behind her. The music started and Angel began to touch us. She couldn't remember all the words. The delivery was awkward and off key. But this pure child took each of us by the crook of our hearts and lead us to a place of perfect peace and love. The choir children hummed their backup melody as tears slipped down their cheeks. It was a harmony of souls in the auditorium at that moment. Tears were flowing, sobs were escaping, hearts were growing. And Angel was beaming.
The audience jumped to their feet and gave her a standing ovation. I was proud of my children, the middle school aged peers who instead of being devastatingly cruel were tenderly accepting, and my new hero Angel. And I knew I had been given a blessing as I was transfigured by a little girl named Angel who lead us.