Editor’s Note: DC Service Corps member, Amy Brandt reflects on how love has bloomed for her through an Elton John song.
Love blooms… In the words of a familiar tune:
It’s a little bit funny, this feeling inside.
It is physically impossible for me to keep from singing the next line of “Your Song”:
I’m not one of those who can easily hide.
And in the instant I join in the song, my mind is flooded with a memory. I am taken back to the time my dad tried to teach my 6-year-old self how to play this song on the piano. Knowing full well that he didn’t know how to play the piano either, we sat side by side in front of the electric keyboard, trying to bring to life one of Elton John’s greatest hits. My sister was learning a Beatles song at the time, so my dad assured me, that just like the title, this was “my song”. In that moment, little Amy knew that she was loved. And that love bloomed from the fact that I had family accompanying me, the wise words of Elton John guiding me, and a desire to create something beautiful.
And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple, but now that it’s done
I hope you don’t mind
I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is, now you’re in the world
Once the memory runs its course, I return to the present: my life here in DC, living in Casa San Salvador, and serving as a part of DC Service Corps. Knowing that I am no longer a 6-year-old, whose biggest task on her plate was attempting to play a song on the piano, the love that this song stirs within me is a love that yearns to be shared. The lyrics remind me to articulate my appreciations, affirm my neighbors, and celebrate the presence of those with whom my life intertwines.
Whether someone plays a large or small role in my life, as a Christian, I am called to encounter everyone in a way that reflects their dignity. We each bring talents, gifts, and experiences that contribute to “how wonderful life is,” and sometimes, it takes an Elton John song to remember that.
This community I have found in FMS has quietly but insistently been speaking truth to me in a way that harmonizes with the meaning of “Your Song.” This love that they have shared has a blooming ripple effect, as it has helped me recognize my own dignity, and in turn, revealed the dignity of others. I have come to understand that we are all, inherently, gifts. Moreover, God wants us to receive one another as the gifts that we are. And when someone forgets that they are a gift, we are called to gently remind them, by singing them “their song.”
This spirit of accompaniment is a core aspect of FMS’ mission. After all, love blooms the most bright and the most wild when we are intentionally present in the lives of those around us. By meeting people where they are at, and walking side by side, we can experience life together in a more fulfilling way. Leaning on one another for support, we begin to grow in the light that shines through community.
Sometimes, this act of accompaniment makes me feel like my dad must have felt as he tried to teach me to play the piano without knowing how himself. The way forward is not always clear, but for some miraculous reason, love continues to bloom from the desire to create something beautiful. We are called to embrace the unknown and encourage one another through simply loving them. And a lot can be learned from Elton John’s approach of simply putting down in words, how wonderful life is, now you’re in the world.
Reflection Question: Who in your life may need to be reminded that they are a “gift”?