Last night, we went to a senior recital given by my high school senior’s closest friend. It was held in a small Catholic chapel on the even smaller University grounds with which it is associated. Stained glass windows glowed from the light of the early evening sun shining through the colors to illuminate the holy figures and impart a sense of reverence. It was not the only awe we would experience during our visit.
The crowd included teachers, close friends from school and work, and family, of course.
The musical selections were a mix of modern religious music and popular tunes you might hear on the radio if you listened to the type of stations that carries Ed Sheeran or Harry Gardner. There were four duets, all sung with female partners, his private music teacher accompanying on piano, and a hand-drum (bongo does not seem like the appropriate word) that contributed a well-rounded, yet soft beat when the composition called for it.
Over the course of an hour, which included a short intermission, this talented eighteen year old treated us to the music that must fill his soul. He sang, played piano, played the oboe (exquisitely, I might add), and played his guitar. It was a beautiful, uplifting performance from a young man who our family has gotten to know well over the last six years. You could tell he was comfortable in his skin and with the musician he had become. His song choices reflected that the most. They all seemed to have a theme of love, faith, and family. What eighteen year old do you know that sings about falling in love, the touch of someone’s hand, or telling someone they love them? What eighteen year old openly shows how much he loves his mom? This one did last night. I believe he shared more than beautiful music, but what was in his heart.
Of course, sitting there with my own eighteen year old, I was proud that he had chosen such a caring person to become his closest friend. In truth, and aside from the musical talent, my son is very much like his friend. It is commonly known that the teenage years will test relationships between parent and child. It always does. However, despite the fact that my son and I had just had “words” at dinner about something I said which he mis-interpreted, sitting next to him at the senior recital of his friend, I could not help but tell him that I loved him. And, he can and does say that back to me – more and more frequently, now as the time is drawing near in which he will be leaving to start down his own road. I’ll always be here, he knows he can always come home. I have the perfect photograph for him to carry off to school to remind him of that – “until our eyes meet” again, just like the Ed Sheeran song his friend sang with his mother at the end of the recital.
My own heart was reminded of the importance of music in our lives. It can transport you to another place and time – when you were falling in love, when you had your first dance, when you so tentatively touched the hand or lips of someone who in an instant becomes more than a friend. Music can lift you up in a way spiritually so your worries are less. Through the notes and music that come to life by being sung or played, you feel connected to those you love, those you have loved, and to life itself.
As we departed the recital chapel and moved to have refreshments, I hugged this young man and told him he has a gift – I hope he guards it well. The gift of music is shared when we listen……really listen. Just like a photograph, the gift of music is something that can be carried with you, always.