The Joy of Music
As a music lover, my grandma was always encouraging us to sing or play instruments. Not to excel in talent or brilliance, but rather to enjoy the moment of song. When the family got together, we always played and sang. She would sit quietly in a chair off to the side. Her eyes would sparkle and her lips formed a gentle smile. She would gently keep the rhythm my tapping her fingers of one hand on the other, as they sat on her lap. I could see how much joy this music brought to her and to her heart. She loved every minute, good harmony or bad, it didn’t matter to her. She enjoyed the beauty of her family making music together.
One tragic day, my grandma suffered a severe stroke. I went to see her and as she rested on the hospital bed unable to speak or communicate with us, I could see the fear in her eyes. I wanted to do something for her – something special that I knew would touch her heart. I wanted her to experience just how much I loved her. So, I sang to her. My aunt found an old hymnal in the hospital’s chapel and I sang to my grandma, hymn after hymn. I sang softly to her while holding her hand. I felt her light squeeze every now and then and could tell by the look in her eyes that she was resting more comfortably and maybe even a bit more happy. This was one of the most cherished memories of my life. In spite of her fear, I knew Grandma was feeling happiness and love. I knew I was sharing with her just a bit of what she had always given me.
It wasn’t soon after that, Grandma joined Grandpa in Heaven. I look back on those few hours and know that Grandma heard the beauty that surrounded her in that hospital room. She was still looking for the beauty – knowing it was there – wanting to be happy.
My grandma is my hero. She taught me one of the most important lessons of my life – to look and enjoy the beauty that is all around me in the world. You see, happiness is choice. I can look for all that is beautiful and then sit back and enjoy the contentment and happiness that it brings my way; or, I can focus on the strains and struggles of my daily life, not enjoying all that has been gifted to me and then missing out on all that would bring me happiness and joy.
To live responsibly, you can’t ignore your struggles and pain. That is not only foolish, but it isn’t healthy. You need to work through these difficult things in order for to grow as a person. You need to accept the fact that even in the times of trial there is beauty if you will be open to experiencing it.
Even when things are tough – focus on what lessons can be learned? What richness is experienced that you may have missed if you weren’t awakened by the struggle? How are you as a person better today than you were yesterday? These are beautiful lessons.
All of these lessons in life have an element of beauty and can fill your heart with contentment. You can’t (nor should you) ignore the pain. You just need to look beyond it while moving through it – putting it into perspective. Bad things happen, but even in the midst of your struggles, you can find beauty. You just need to be open to accepting it. It is there and it surrounds you – open your heart and mind to receiving it. Open your arms and receive the happiness that is there – everywhere – embrace what is yours.