Shopping, especially at Christmas time, is often a harried experience as shoulders brush against strangers and panic sets in as the minutes tick by and one goes from store to store, still empty-handed. This evening as my daughter and I were shopping at the mall, we decided to go into a rather exclusive store; its marbled floors and elegant setting an oasis in the midst of the holiday uproar.
It took up two floors and we rode the escalator downstairs to look around. On our way back up, we looked over the edge of the railing to watch and listen to an elderly gentleman, dressed in a dark brown suit who was tinkling the ivories of a grand piano. He was very good and Megan asked, "Is he really playing that?" I assured her that he was and then she asked if we could go back down and listen to him. When we reached the top of the escalator, we circled around and rode down again, as indulgence in beautiful music is always warranted. I leaned against a pillar a few feet away as my daughter stood next to my right shoulder and we listened as he played a lovely rendition of "Silent Night".
When he finished, he turned on his bench and smiled warmly at us. I approached him and complimented his fine playing. He talked to us for awhile and encouraged my daughter, who spoke of her desire to play, to keep learning and practicing. He was truly a musician, an artist who painted beautiful pictures with his notes and melody and shared his gift with us tonight.
As we got back on the escalator Megan said, "He was so nice, wasn't he? And he seemed very wise." I looked at her and noticed the light he had brought to her eyes...and the beauty I saw there brought tears to my own.
We headed back out into the noisy activity of the mall's hallways, and Megan commented on the change in atmosphere. And she was right. The sweet music had placed a calm in our hearts that transcended the rush of the outside world. In pushing the pause button on our long day, we were fortunate enough to brush shoulders with a stranger and because of that, were given a lovely moment to remember.