In the summer of 1974 my first wife Carol, our three-year-old son Paul, and I went on an outing with some friends to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. I was just finishing my education at the University of Tennessee and Carol recently had surgery for ovarian cancer and was going through radiation therapy. Carol was weak and confined to a wheelchair, but enjoyed shopping at the various stores designed to get tourists to spend their money.
As our journey continued, our friends took us to watch a glass blower. None of us had ever seen such a thing. We watched for a while and in the process Carol fell in love with a miniature glass-blown grand piano. We bought it and Carol took special care to protect that piano.
A few years later Paul threw something, missed his target, hit the glass piano, and broke it into a hundred pieces. Carol shed many tears over its loss. Paul felt sorry and had a guilty conscience.
About twenty years later Paul and his family came to visit and he brought his mother a gift. She opened it and inside was another glass-blown piano. For all these years Paul carried some guilt for an incident which his mother had forgiven him and forgotten. When Carol opened the present she and I both cried. The reason for the tears was not for the replacement of the piano but for the sensitivity and love of a son for his mother.
It was an inanimate object that our son broke but he still remembered the pain he caused his mother. This was his way of letting her know that he loved and appreciated her and was sorry for something he did a long time ago. The piano was placed in Carol’s curio. Today, twelve years after the passing of his mother, this little glass piano still occupies a place of honor in that curio.
This story reminds us that love is a powerful tool and we should use it liberally.
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