Saturday, March 17, 2012

Opening My Eyes to Hear Music

I heard a timid knock at the office door. When I opened it, one of the new Mary Isaak Center residents was there for his weekly community service assignment.

A soft-spoken man with a professorial air, he sported a tweed coat. My heart broke to think of this genteel older gentleman living on the street, but that was tempered with gratitude for his now having a warm and safe place to lay his head.

He was permanently injured, so couldn't stand for any significant length of time. Since the work in the kitchen is mostly physical, we had to be creative to determine where he could serve. We settled on his inspecting the many loaves of donated bread piled on shelves in the storeroom. He pulled up a stool and got to work.

As he began his task, I learned he was a classical pianist. The delicate fingers which once made music were now handling loaves of bread as he looked for mold. He managed his task thoroughly and with grace, taking it very seriously.

Later in the day, another classical pianist appeared. This dapper man, a senior citizen, lived in his travel trailer while he awaited housing. It was hard not to gasp at the meagerness of his income while we filled out his application for our food box program.

These literary, erudite, musical men inspire me. Both have fallen on hard times, but are surviving their circumstances with grace and humility.

Poverty is a mean taskmaster, but it hasn't taken their dignity. They remain examples to me, and I am grateful we can extend a helping hand.

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