Dear Piano Man,

Our paths crossed yesterday. For two minutes. You won’t remember me, but your kind eyes and gentle smile are forever etched into my heart.

As you began to play in the Mayo Clinic’s underground plaza, my inquisitive, blonde-haired boy appeared at your side, fascinated to watch your fingers move across the keys as a favorite hymn of mine filled the air. You smiled and whispered that you had a special song, just for him, up next.

As I caught my wayward three-year-old up in my arms and he snuggled in close, you and I shared a small smile. What you couldn’t have known but probably guessed was this tired momma’s previous sleepless night, the worry I masked behind treats and games and a “fun” adventure, the unknown test results still awaiting us in the consultation room.

As  you played, you drew me into a quiet conversation. You asked if we come to Mayo often, and you told me you volunteer to play the piano at noon on every Wednesday. And, in that moment, I recognized you, despite never having seen you before.

I realized that you come to play, to smile, to whisper words of encouragement in this place where nearly every visitor walks the hallways in the midst of a medical crisis, good news and bad all mixed together.

You come to the spot where honest, raw emotion lies just below the surface and is often etched in faces and in eyes instead of well-hidden behind the veneer of “everything’s fine.”

You come to the place where walking onto the pediatric floor filled with children causes me to weep silent tears because mommies and daddies don’t drive for hours, for days, for hundreds of miles because their child has chickenpox or a broken arm.

You come to play for those of us who are scared, hurting, and facing the unknown.

And as you begin to play Jesus Loves Me, you tell my son that this is his special song and ask whether he knows it. And I come undone as my son snuggles further into my arms while I sing the lyrics softly into his ear.

Peace slowly replaces fear. I think of the precious grandmothers and aunt and friends lending hands, sending prayers, supporting us while we are down here. And I remember that the lyrics I am singing are more than just a pretty children’s song, they are truth.

Jesus loves me!

This I know,

For the Bible tells me so.

Little ones to Him belong;

They are weak but He is strong.

Jesus loves me!

Loves me still,

Tho I’m very weak and ill,

That I might from sin be free,

Bled and died upon the tree.

Jesus loves me!

He who died

Heaven’s gate to open wide;

He will wash away my sin,

Let His little child come in.

Jesus loves me!

He will stay

Close beside me all the way.

Thou hast bled and died for me;

I will henceforth live for Thee.

And in you, a stranger, I felt the love of my Savior wash over the lanky young boy who loves to tell me that he is not my baby (but who always will be) and me.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

(For all of you who have been praying for us and with us on our son’s medical journey, thank you. The test results were the very best we could have hoped for, and the prognosis is that he will outgrow his condition.)