Sometimes the fruits of our labor don’t drop as soon as we’d like, and then when they do drop, it’s in the last place we’d expect. In times like these it is all we can do to just persist and keep doing the best we can. But how are we supposed to continue on without any sign of progress or reward?
We’ve all been in a situation that tried our patience, whether it is at work, where you’re just not getting that raise you know you deserve; or at home, where you just aren’t losing the weight you desperately want to.
Staying the course can be difficult, and in these situations a little inspiration goes a long way.
If you are in need of that little bit of inspiration, the following story should be music to your ears.
A sixth grade boy, Jared, showed up on my doorstep for piano lessons. His mother dropped him off without coming inside or introducing herself, so I was left alone with the boy, who sat politely on my piano bench awaiting instruction.
I tried to explain to Jared that I usually did not teach boys as old as him, mostly because they were too rambunctious and resistant to learning. Jared only smiled at me and promised to be on his best behavior, excitedly telling me that he was determined to learn to play for his mother, who dreamed of hearing him play some day.
His willingness and charm convinced me that he would be a moldable student, but his native talent did not match his enthusiasm. In fact, he seemed to have been born with no understanding of tone or rhythm, the two basic building blocks of music.
Normally I would have discouraged a student like this—piano just isn’t for everyone—but I could tell right away that nothing could suppress his zeal. That, and I never met his mother.
I taught Jared for over three months, and never once got the opportunity to speak with his mother. If I had, I probably would have tried to discuss the matter with her.
To my surprise (and I must admit, to my relief) Jared didn’t show up one afternoon, and then never returned. I felt a little guilty about feeling the way I did, but at that point I felt like all my efforts were not getting Jared any closer to his dream.
A few weeks passed and still no word from Jared; but there was a recital coming up, and I thought it would have been insensitive to not at least send him a flyer along with all my other students. A day after I sent out the invitations I got a call from Jared (which surprised me, for obvious reasons) saying that he would be there.
Jared persisted and I caved, against my better judgment. Something inside told me that it would be ok, and I uncharacteristically listened.
The recital went splendidly. All of my students played their pieces flawlessly, and the auditorium was packed.
Then it was Jared’s turn.
In all the hubbub, I hadn’t caught a glimpse of his mother, but assumed she was in the crowd somewhere.
I will admit that when Jared took his seat at the bench, I was a little more than apprehensive. He lightly placed his fingers on the keys, and when he started playing …
It was outstanding!
In all our time together, Jared had never showed this incredible talent that now was impressing both the audience and me. When he concluded his piece, the audience roared with applause and I couldn’t help but run and hug Jared.
On stage, I asked Jared where his mother was, and his response devastated me.
“My mother died of cancer this morning, and even though she was born deaf,
I knew she could hear me tonight. She finally got to hear me perform!”
It was at that moment that I realized the true meaning of persistence, and was so glad I hadn’t given up on Jared.
Even more so, however, I realized how much Jared had taught me. He never gave up, even when his mother was too sick to bring him to practice, and in the end, his hard work paid off.
It was music to my ears.
Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges and She loves receiving reader feedback.