A Nap in the Main Room

It was shortly before dinner time. Not long enough to merit going outside and getting involved in a new activity, but long enough that it didn’t make sense to hang around the kitchen and sneak bites of the main dish. So I wandered into the main room.

With a huge couch on one side and wide-seated chairs forming a circle around the rest of the room, the main room was comfy and welcoming. The main room, when full, is loud and chaotic. People on the couch converse with people sitting on the floor, and people in the doorway add their opinions with gusto.

But at that moment, the room was quiet. A handful of teens lazed on the huge couch, and four were engaged in a game of Blokus on the floor in the middle of the room. I stretched my legs across the deflated couch cushions and settled in for an eyes-open-not-really-sleeping-just-resting-my-brain nap.

She was doing about the same thing, sitting across the room from me; head resting on one hand, and feet propped up on a neighboring chair. She smiled at me when my glazed eyes drifted her direction, and I smiled back, then stifled a yawned.

The peace of the room was broken every once in awhile as someone pounded down the stairs and out the back door, but the calm lull of soft conversation prevailed, for awhile.

Then the back door slammed, and three boys marched into the room, fresh from a lively game of Knockout. Two of them flopped onto the thinly carpeted floor, and the third shuffled over to the ancient piano that stood resolutely against the wall across from me.

The boy began pounding out a well-known song, which would have been great, if the piano had not been so out of tune. The notes were distorted and loud and so very out of tune. The calm that had been vanished in an instant.

The music had to be bothering her, too. We had both been enjoying the peace and quiet, and now we were both surrounded by the twangy pinging of the old instrument. I knew what she would do, I could even hear her voice in my head, “Let’s not play piano for a little while”. It could only be seconds until she spoke the words and the song died away.

But she didn’t say anything. No words of admonishment, no prohibitive shake of the head with a grave glance. She just sat there, slightly more awake than before, but with no hint of the annoyance that I was sure had to be there.

Never before had I been so motivated to emulate someone. Showing love and patience to the boy banging out show tunes on the old piano was more important to her than having a few moments of peace and quiet, and that small display of love and unselfishness shocked me.

After a few minutes, the boy tired of the ancient piano, and the trio trooped out of the main room, probably off to play a little more basketball. But by that time, I wasn’t sleepy anymore. That small glimpse of wordless sacrificial love had erased my exhaustion and motivated me to love like she had.



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