Keep Playing

A wonderful tale that, sure enough, might be true, is told about the great pianist Paderewski.

A mother, wishing to inspire her young son, took him to a concert of the maestro. Getting there early, the mother took her seat with her son. Seeing someone she knew, she told her son, “I’ll be right over there.”

She got up and went over to her friend and looked over to her son from time to time, but as these things go, sure enough, the boy’s natural curiosity prompted him to explore the great concert hall. His mother, seeing that he was staying within sight, allowed it. The boy chanced to see a curtained doorway that was the entrance to backstage and slipped through it.

As exciting as all the new sights were back there, nothing captured him as much as the nine foot long grand piano, shining with an almost holy luster. Sure enough, he went to it immediately and sat down.

Just then, the curtains parted in preparation for the evening to begin. The sight of the small boy sitting there quieted the crowd. The mother, just arriving back at her seat, was also at a loss for words and wondering how she could get her son off of the stage with the minimum of embarrassment. But just then, the boy began to play “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” and being entirely concentrated on the song, was certain to miss his mother’s waving and pointing for him to get off the stage.

Just as she had decided to speak aloud, sure enough, Paderewski came onto the stage approaching the piano, redoubling the mother’s quandary. Holding a finger up to the audience, he signaled everyone to wait a moment and see what might come of this.

Quickly moving to the piano, he whispered into the youngster’s ear, “Don’t quit. Keep playing,” and reaching around the boy with his left hand, begin to fill in a bass part to the song.

Soon, his other arm came to the keyboard and also began to play, enfolding the child in his arms. A situation that might have caused a insignificant incident became a precious human moment, as the master improvised a wonderful accompaniment to everyone’s, including the child’s, delight.

The entire house was hypnotized with love.

Many people went home with the evening imprinted deeply in their hearts, and this would echo for the rest of their lives in ways that continued to surprise them.

Perhaps the best of these echoes was heard the following Sunday, when a minister told his congregation about the incident.

He concluded, “This is the power of our lives. We do our best, even though it may be seen as lacking merit or not up to the expectations of others who view us. But God is there, and His arms and are around us, attuned to our attempts and making with them a music that touches even Him. And so must we all, especially when we have doubts about our performance in this world, remember to,’Don’t quit, and keep playing’ with simple innocence, and see what wonders comes of it. Remember, He enfolds all that you do within His bosom, and, this pleases Him. Sure enough. Sure enough.”

Ask Yourself:

How does the feeling I get when I read this story come to me?

How do I ring to its truth so deeply? What is so certain in me about existence that I know that this feeling is valid?

Is this true for me? With all the mistakes I’ve made as a child and as a childish adult, can it be that the universe witnesses a greater tableau than I? Can I believe this so deeply that all of my daily life is “twinkling?” What would such a deep conviction on my part do to my life? How would I be transformed? How would those around me be affected by it?

When I consider my interconnectedness to my environment, can I NOT think that I am part of a greater symphony?

Given all the laws of nature that scientists constantly find at work within us and around us–laws that are deeply inviolate–how could I feel otherwise? Am I, sure enough, part of an unfolding wonder?

Given the majesty of its starry nights, the dearness of the smiles of its infants, the relationship of all to itself, could the universe be anything less than miraculous ecstasy?

Am I precious?

Sure enough. Sure enough.