When your name is Grace, you’re bound to have the old tune Amazing Grace quoted and sung to you one time too often. But tonight was so truly amazing, that the over-quoted simplicity of that phrase is the only means of doing it all justice: Grace is amazing. And so is the little-g grace, which overwhelmingly spilled over through it all.
The music itself was thrilling, drawing an eager audience into Ravel’s valley of whispering, then clanging bells, alongside an anxious Beethoven seeking solace in the outdoors, into a Venetian gondolier’s lyrical evening. My favorite is Liszt’s arrangement of the wedding song Schumann wrote for his wife. I’ve never heard her play it better and it brought tears to my eyes. And afterward, she told me she had played that sweetest part of that favorite song thinking of me.
And then it was overwhelming to be surrounded by so many others, by so much love. Her three piano teachers were there, from the one who got her started at 7 to the one who is still her teacher. Our parents also, who persisted in encouraging her to practice when she really didn’t want to. And there were many others who came to hear her music. We gather to hear more, to listen longer, because we have all already heard just enough of the music of grace to whet our appetite for more, in laughter, in stories, in care expressed, in tears shared. Look at how grace brings us together.
I’ve heard grace defined as “undeserved favor.” Maybe that’s why these sweetest, most precious moments feel so overwhelming, as if the joy and love and amazing-ness want to spill out and make a mess everywhere, like it is all too much to contain. Hearing the music is a gift. So is playing it. And all in the presence of so much community, so much love. All so undeserved. All so much grace.
Congratulations my dear sister. You are an undeserved gift in my life and I am inestimably proud of your victory tonight.
This post was written 11/29 following my sister’s senior recital for her undergrad degree.