|THE PIANO LESSON
Although I had driven there many times before, this time I did not remember how I had gotten there. In fact, I had no memory of leaving my home at all. Even so, I was there, sitting in my seat, listening to my student perform for me on the piano just like I had a hundred times before..
When he finished the piece he had been practicing all week, we chatted for a while, which had been our custom for years.
Jeremiah was a bright young man who had spent too much of his formative years wasting his intelligence and squandering his opportunities, talents, and natural leadership qualities. I recall that at one time he had formed a gang of sorts, and held himself personally responsible for every member.
Although he had been rebellious, and ornery, the young Jeremiah was also spiritual and had a love of Jesus and the fear of God in his heart. It was because of this solid spiritual foundation that I had always believed in the boy.
After many wasted years had gone by, Jeremiah had suddenly made a complete turnaround. Maturity had caught up with him and by the time he had reached his last year of high school, he had finally opened his eyes to the error of his ways. I had never seen anyone before so devastated by his past; apologetic, and wanting to make things right.
"Are you happy, Jeremiah?" I asked the young man of twenty now seated beside me. I had watched this boy grow up, yet, today, this young man was a stranger to me in many ways.
"Not really", he said.
Jeremiah had managed to become a father several years ago, and although I had no knowledge of the outcome, I had assumed this moral youth had done the noble thing and married his equally young girlfriend.
"Do you love her?" I asked.
I could see the boy was fighting back the tears of shame that were spilling down his cheeks. With quivering lips he answered.
"Everyone can see that I donít", he said.
I had no way of knowing exactly what he meant by that comment, but I guessed that he had no qualms about verbalizing his displeasure with his present situation with others.
"Iím sorry youíre not happy, Jeremiah," I said. "Iím sorry things have turned out the way they have".
Many thoughts went through my mind as I sat in the silence that followed. My eyes ran over the boyís appearance, and I marveled at how much he had changed since I had seen him last. I wouldnít have recognized him if we had passed each other on the street.
Even though Jeremiah had physically matured a bit since I had last seen him, there was still a little boy quality about him. I felt sad that so much time had passed between us. I had no one to blame but myself for that, of course, which saddened me all the more.
All too soon the moment for departure arrived. I wanted to throw my arms around Jeremiah and hold him like a mother would hold her child. I wanted to squeeze him and never let him go. I could have changed his past and given him a brighter future. We could have sailed to distant lands, or rocketed to other galaxies. I could have given him the world.
Yet, even though it was in my power, I didnít do any of those things.
As Jeremiah gathered up his music and walked slowly through the door, and out of my life for the second time, I simply sat and watched him go.