Love And Music In Their Hearts
July 12, 2006
For many years as I went about my weekend routine of doing all those
chores around our house I would regularly hear the sound of a piano
playing and singing in the background. One of our neighbours has always
had a love of music and obviously the family enjoyed gathering around
the piano on the weekend. The music and singing was never something that
was hard to take, in fact I often found myself humming or singing away
with a song that I knew well.
Living in a fairly relaxed and quiet suburban area does have many
pluses, however, this little bonus of weekend enjoyment was something I
looked forwarded too, although at the time I never realised that I did.
Around three years ago the music and singing stopped and it wasn't until
our neighbours told me of the troubles that their teenage son was
dealing with that I came to realise why, the family was no longer a
happy one where the sound of music and singing could be heard.
Being a parent is a wonderful thing even though it is full of lots of
highs and lows, however, when the lows hit it can be a challenging and
very saddening experience. As I was to discover over the following
months our neighbours son had got involved with a group of other
teenagers whose lifestyle included late night partying, drinking, drugs
and doing lot's other anti-social things. This was something I found
hard to comprehend as their son use to play with my two son's and the
other boys who live in our street, but suddenly he was off hanging out
with another crowd of young people doing things that were not consistent
with what I new about him. Such is peer pressure I guess, however, it
didn't make it any easier for my two delightful neighbours who had
always been such wonderful parents and who had brought some weekend
enjoyment to me as I went about his household chores.
Over the last couple of years I have often spent time with them in an
endeavour to be of some assistance to them in the time of trouble. I
also had a couple of conversations with their son but nothing seemed to
be working to get this young man back on track and his family, personal
and schooling life suffered greatly.
Just over a year ago things started to change for the better and this
young man who was now almost out of his teens started to come out of the
horror period in his life. He went back to school to complete his high
school studies and has now gone to commence studies to become a
naturopath. From afar and as a neighbour it is great to see that at last
everything is back on track for this young man and his parents.
From time to time all our immediate neighbours get together to celebrate
those special yearly occasions and there is an informal sort of rotation
system with these events which see us all move from house to house year
in year out. Just recently our neighbours with the son who had gone
through this rocky period and come out the other end back on track,
invited us and a number of other family's over for lunch to celebrate
one of those special yearly occasions.
During the course of a relaxing and enjoyable afternoon I sat on the
piano stool in front of now silent piano. I am not sure of the brand of
piano, however, it is one of those upright models with a highly polished
black finish. I could not help but notice that there were some words and
some images scratched onto the front of the piano, immediately above the
The words said 'I Hate You' and they appeared they may have been
scratched onto the piano in a fit of rage as they were very rough and
fairly deeply etched into the surface of the piano. An attempt had also
been made to cover up these three words with a series of scratches
crisscrossing over the top of the words.
Immediately underneath this crudely written and very sad statement were
three images spread across the front of the piano. The images were three
stick figures, two large ones and a slightly smaller one, followed by
the shape of a heart and then a flower.
As I sat there I felt the urge to find out what these three words and
three images meant, however, I did not feel it was appropriate to ask
for fear that is some way it related to past events that were best
forgotten. The answer came without me even having to ask as our
neighbour and mother of the young man saw me looking at the front of
piano and came over to sit next to me on the piano stool.
She explained with just a hint of tears in her eyes that her son had
scratched the words onto the piano during a fit of anger as he struggled
to come to terms with the pressures he was facing at one of the lowest
points in his life. She also explained that they had then endeavoured to
remove the words themselves but to no avail and could not afford the
high cost of repairing the panel. Equally, at that time they did not
know if he would do it again and so decided to leave it there.
She went on to tell me that some months later, both she and her husband
came home one afternoon to find that the three words had been scratched
over in an attempt to cover them up and that the stick figures, heart
and flower had been added, and they both took that as sign that their
son had come back to them in both spirit and body. She then smiled at me
in a way that said we are okay now and then went off to speak to one of
There is no doubt that for many months these three words etched on the
piano would have created significant distress and sadness for my two
neighbours as it was clear that they had been directed at them. My
admiration for them as human beings had now moved to an even higher
level, knowing that it takes a lot of guts to face up to something like
that day in day out.
What their son had done was unforgivable and had hurt them both so
deeply, however, I found myself understanding why and that perhaps he
had come to realisation of what he had done and what it meant to his
parents during that low period in his life. I thought at that very
moment that he may have decided to make a statement which said I am
sorry and the only way he could do that was with the three images. I
also occurred to me that perhaps his first message may not have been
directed at his parents but rather himself.
I am reminded of a well know quote:
"People will forget what you said,
people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you
made them feel."
What that young man said and did in writing those three words may over
time be forgotten, however, what he did and said when he etched those
three images into the piano made his mum and dad feel something that
will never be forgotten - it was a visual expression of the love of son
who had returned to them.
Their family life seems much more settled and happier now even if the
sound of music and singing does not punctuate the weekends as it did
before, however, this neighbour can live without that in the knowledge
that there is again love and music in their hearts.
Inspired by Alex, Jim and Gerard and written by Keith Ready
--- Keith Ready
Keith Ready is an Australian based business adviser and trainer whose
specialty is working with his clients to improve top and bottom line
business performance in a measurable way, through people. Keith is also
known as Mr Inspiration and is publisher of InspirEmail which provides
inspirational messages to refresh the spirit and boost the emotional
You can visit his website at www.agiftofinspiration.com.au
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