He sits on a small bench across the room.
I watch him, quietly moving steady hands across keys, and the familiar melody of “How Great Thou Art” floats toward me, gently caressing my senses before continuing its journey down the hallway behind me; a hallway often littered with fragments of shattered dreams and fears lurking for their next victim.
I see this fear in the eyes of people being wheeled from one appointment to another, always worried about the outcome of the test they’d just taken or anxiously fretting about the test they are about to take.
I always look at the eyes.
I’m not sure why, but it helps me see people, not patients.
Instead of atrophied muscles, I see a man wishing he could walk. Instead of a hairless child, I see a boy too weak to kick a ball or climb a tree. Instead of a battle between life and death, I see a grandma who wants to live to see her granddaughter get married.
It is in this action, I continuously choose to observe… hope instead of defeat.
And so, as I stand in the lobby of the Charlton Building intently studying the face of the man behind the Grand Piano, I try diagnosing what it is within him creating such peace.
His head sways gently from side to side, moving in perfect rhythm to the hymn his fingers play.
And that’s when I notice he is blind.
No songbook is propped before him; the growing crowd around him goes unnoticed. Once in a while he smiles, but it isn’t at the girl who has moved her wheelchair close to him. Instead, I believe it is a smile offered purely in praise to the One he is playing for.
“Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee…”
So I too, close my eyes.
“Then through the woods, and forest glades I wander…”
I hear the rustle of the forest swaying gently in the breeze as the hymn bounces off the granite beneath me. Unnoticed until now, the water fountain behind me becomes a brook, and the walls around me become mountains grandeur.
I once heard someone say eyes are the gateway to the soul.
I think they’re right.
Don’t ask me how it works, but maybe that gateway to our soul is more open than ever when we close our eyes.
Especially if we get a bit scared.