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Faces on Faith: A Sacred moment in a coffee line

By Staff | Jun 20, 2013

Rev. Dr. Ellen Sloan

As I hastily made my way to the coffee stand at Health Park Hospital, I heard the most heavenly strains of music. For those of you who know Health Park, it resembles more a hotel lobby than a hospital with palm trees, waterfalls, vaulted ceilings, balconies, and flowing streams. There’s also a grand piano there where various people take turns playing each day of the week.

So, the strains of music decorating the massive space were a common occurrence. I’d often heard the piano playing here so I didn’t look over to see who it was. I figured that after my coffee, I’d walk over and say my usual “thank you” to the pianist of the day.

The line for coffee was long and I waited, when suddenly I heard Mozart’s Fantasy in D minor begin to waft through the air. It was exquisitely performed and I tried to look through the lush lobby vegetation to see who was playing. I couldn’t quite see and didn’t want to lose my place in line, so I stayed put.

Following Mozart, a Bach Minuet began and it was so incredible that I decided no cup of coffee was worth it right now. I had to go and see who had their fingers on the ebony and ivory.

As I walked closer to the piano, I noticed quite a group of people gathered there – and then I saw him – a small boy about the age of 9 or 10! I had heard and read about child prodigies, but I’d never, ever witnessed one! I was awestruck, as were all the people around me.

The innocence of his demeanor, the tiny hands traveling up and down the keys, his closed eyes, and the way he swayed back and forth to the beautiful rhythms was overwhelming. And all of this with no music in front of him! I found my throat catching suddenly and tears at the corners of my eyes.

It was one of those moments when I felt God had gifted me with the sight of His glorious handiwork – front and center. From Mozart to Bach to Beethoven – the notes came forth from those small human hands like spiritual gifts – given from that child’s Creator and offered to all of us.

I saw the boy’s family off to one side and went over to thank them and to share how I’d felt the presence of God in their son. The father said his son Noah was a miracle in their lives. Someone spontaneously added that she wondered how anyone could doubt the existence of God when seeing such a gift of creation. I nodded my head.

Eventually, I wandered back into my daily reality of hospital visits and headed to the elevators. The ascent in the elevator was almost surreal as I savored the gift just given to me and realized again the truth beyond my understanding – that’s God’s holy and life-giving Spirit – though always with me – had actually tapped me on the shoulder in a long coffee line and made me gasp in renewed amazement and thanksgiving.

What a sacred moment.