Jamming in the Stairwell

It was after the rehearsal for the Worthy Concert coming up.  We were practicing “Mary Did You Know” with cellos and percussion, Klezmer clarinet and singers.  I had at least an hour to spend somewhere, and I didn’t want to have to go out in that under 30 degree weather.  So I looked around Lincoln at Cornell for a spot to set up and play my harp.  I started in the hallway, but then happened to pass by a perfect little spot: a stairwell area with two chairs!

I pulled out my harp, tuned it again, and began to play, enjoying the solitude with the occasional “interruption” of students coming up or down the stairs.  After a while someone called to me from the floor above.  “I really like that!” he exclaimed.  Then he swooped down the stairs and began talking with me.  His name was James.  He had lived in various places, including Brazil, but now he and his family were living in South Korea.  We talked about the harp and then I asked him if he’d like to have a song just for him.  He smiled, happy with the idea.  Then I prayed and asked God for a melody for James.


I began playing; it was easy, just letting my fingers flow over the strings, letting Holy Spirit guide me.  When I was done, there was a little silence.  Then he said something about how the music had touched him deeply.  He said the music does something that’s beyond words, beyond explanation.  I let him try playing the harp a moment.  Then we talked some more, about his next plans – to go into the military next semester in South Korea.  How it’s a war zone there but there’s a safety in knowing the military is everywhere making sure people are safe.  I told him about our giving harps to some soldiers in the Israeli Defense Force through Harps for Israel. Then I said, “Maybe you should buy a harp and take it with you into the military!”  He seemed to entertain the idea.  James, wherever you are, I’m praying for you.

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