There is a Baby Grand Piano in the foyer where I work. It sits quiet most of the week with it's ivories only being tickled by a consummate professional on Sundays. He delights the people sitting in the cafe adjacent to the nook where it sits. This piano holds a very unique place where I work. The professional which I mentioned prior is a developmentally disabled adult with an uncanny ability to play this piano beautifully. He has a style all his own and the rings to match. It is so fun to watch him play because he knows he is really good.
But there is another group of men that play during the week, that catch me off guard from time to time. You will hear them play at random hours. Some are truly gifted, others plunk along. The plunkers playlist typically consists of Chopsticks, Heart & Soul, Jingle Bells, etc. Those always bring a smile to my face. I believe everyone has some kind of music in them that they need to share.
But there are times when I leave the main office suite on my way to another part of the building and I hear songs I've never heard before, beautiful songs. They are played with passion and feeling. I'm drawn to the mezzanine to watch and soak in the melodies if only for a moment. I can see in the way they move that it is a release. They have taken themselves somewhere else if only for a time, to escape the reality of their situation. They are Community Service Workers.
These men with amazing abilities have done time. I don't know what crime they have committed, but I work at a place that is willing to give them a second chance at a new beginning. I feel intimidated sometimes when I pass them in the hall as they go about their day washing windows and running vacuum cleaners. But I will never pass up an opportunity to smile and say hello. The problem is, they hardly ever look up. If I could let them know one thing, it would be that I get that they were somebody different before they were a criminal. And the fact that they want to make their lives better has earned my respect. I would ask them not to hang their heads, but have the same hope in themselves that I have for them.
My wish for all people is that they would see these men as more than just convicts. That they could possibly see them at the place they were before things went wrong somehow.