I wandered into the East Hill Laundromat in Ithaca, NY with a small harp. This laundromat often doesn’t play music – an ideal spot for playing into the atmosphere and hopefully blessing people who are waiting for their laundry. At the far end of the room I spot a boy, about 5, who is being admonished forcefully to “go over there and sit still” while his mother shoves vast quantities of dirty laundry into two washing machines. I park myself in a seat nearby, close enough for me to connect with him but not close enough to encroach on the space she clearly needs for her own tenuous peace of mind. As I start playing, he is immediately fascinated and flashes me an enthusiastic smile. He asks his mom whether he can go closer to me but that privilege is refused. However, we can smile at each other – no law against that! – and I let the cheerful, loving music flow from Father’s hand, through mine over to him, with glissando’s for added joy.
After a while, I sense it’s time to move on, so I wave good-bye and begin to pack up my harp. Then I notice an elderly woman sitting by the entrance. It turns out that her daughter, V., who is in her 50’s, is nearby, doing some loads of laundry, and V. and I begin to talk together. As we chat, she keeps saying, “I’m so BUSY!” When I ask her what she’s busy doing, she shares that she’s parenting children, grandchildren, and neighborhood children. And then she has a mentally unstable person living in her home, plus she has a job driving buses. I’m sensing the pleasure of Father God in all she’s doing, and tell her, “You know, you’re not “busy”, you’re changing lives! You’re like George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” You know that film?” She nodded, slowly getting it. “Without you, the lives of all those people you’re touching would be very different! God is so pleased with what you’re doing with your life, the way you’re blessing others.”
Then I offer to play her a fresh song on the harp. She is a bit taken aback, but then says she’d like to hear it. So I listen a moment for the melody from God for her, and He is faithful to give me one. I can feel the tenderness and appreciation from the Father for her and all she’s done and continues to do. There it is – a depth and sweetness that I’ve only experienced a few times before, when it seems as though God wants to bless someone with His tenderness. V. is close to tears. The music has clearly touched her heart. My prayer was then and is now that she comes to a deeper and deeper understanding of how who she is and what she’s doing are not “busy-ness” but being the hands of Jesus, powerfully touching the lives of those around her with His love.