Giving is Receiving
23 November, 2015
Back to the beginning, the first breath, the first cry, you were blessed with a gift. The gift of life. This gift will continue giving to you for many years. Along the way, you find other gifts, whether it is the gift of arts, athletic or intellectual ability, virtues, or love, but each is a blessing that many do not have. See, many people in the world are still accepting the first gift. Some struggle to keep it, while others, having already received it for many years, near the end.
I am one of the lucky ones, blessed with gifts of a family, a home, and opportunities to learn and pursue various areas. Although, there is little that I can do to directly help the unfortunate struggling for their lives, I can share my gifts to ease the lives of those nearing the end.
Since the age of 4, I have been given the opportunity to embrace a best friend, the piano, whom I can pour my soul and secrets into through the melodies of a million colors within every note and motif. At some point, I realized that the joy of experiencing the stories behind music should not be limited to myself or even audiences in esteemed concert halls. Instead, the ones who are restrained to a nursing home and will actually receive a greater impact from music deserve to embrace the melodies even more.
I began performing for residents at an Alzheimer’s care center weekly, and it was an experience that was completely foreign to me. After completing a piece, I expected the eager and heartfelt applause of typical audiences, but instead, I received half-hearted applause of an audience that was mostly asleep. I wondered if my playing wasn’t good enough and if I was actually making any difference for the seniors who didn’t seem to be listening.
Yet, there was one weekend where an elderly lady, Ruth, who had always seemed to be tapping her foot along with the beat actually got up out of her chair right before I was about to leave and walked over to the piano. Somehow, about 20 years after being a piano teacher, she recalled a simple melody and laughed as she realized she couldn’t remember anymore. Although the moment was short, it was the best gift to receive knowing that I had caused her remembrance.
Essentially, the gift of life is not as literal as one may think. In fact, it is just as complex as the meaning of life. This gift gives not only life but the chance to give others more for their lives and to receive the impact that the action has on oneself.