[originally posted in 2001]
On my first trip to Russia, I went with several members of the Austin, Texas team to an orphanage (Baby Home #6) that houses some children with Down’s Syndrome. Before going, I was apprehensive about how I would be able to relate to the kids there. I felt, though, that I should go and play my guitar; Beth Shanklin and others encouraged me that the children need as many different kinds of stimulation as possible. So, I figured I’d play some music.
I aspire to play music that is restful and brings peace. Often I’ll lay my head on top of the guitar as I play–this way I can not only hear the music with my ears, but I feel it in my bones. The music comforts me, and it’s very cool the way the music can be both outside and inside at the same time.
As I was playing, a little red-haired girl walked by, and she noticed the vibrations of the guitar. I assume her hearing was not very good because of what happened next. She reached out and touched the guitar and let her hand move over the wood and the strings; she was slowly discovering the music I was playing. As she realized what was happening, she grabbed the guitar, pulled herself to it, and rested her forehead against the instrument and so she could hear/feel the music. We listened to the music that way for about ten minutes.
So, here was a little Russian orphan girl and an older American man sharing the beauty of God’s gift of music. It was a blessed moment. I pray that she received a blessing from the Father–an experience of peace and beauty as a gift from Him to her, through me.
Here’s an update from a year and half later: I visited the summer camp where children from Baby Home #6 stay during the summer. One of her teachers told me that she is very musical. Imagine that!