We are blessed here at Family Scholar House to be welcomed into Amelia Place (the official residence of the President of the University of Louisville) every year for a gigantic Halloween Party, and we’re grateful to Dr. and Mrs. Ramsey for their gracious hospitality. It’s quite a scene, this party, and you can’t help but leave with a buoyant spirit and twinkling eyes. For this fun evening for our families, we are thankful. And out of it, as you’ll read below, can come some amazing things.
Imagine, if you will, masses of children running around a lovely, historic and spacious home. These children are all in costume and so you’re just as likely to see Buzz Lightyear dash by as you are Rapunzel or Spiderman. There’s pizza galore, accompanied by trays of cupcakes and cookies and candy corn. Fabulous decorations–right down to mechanical rats and a talking witch–adorn the walls and fill up corners, and in one room a magician works to pull a flower out of the ear of a particularly brave five year-old while her peers look on in amazement. Laughter is abundant, as are squeals of delight. And even the littlest ones offer shy smiles at the happy chaos all around them. Moms and dads stand back, grinning at their children and catching up with one another. It’s loud. And bright and wild and messy in the way children’s parties always are.
In a front room, next to a wide window looking out over the Amelia Place lawn, sits a baby grand piano. And around it are children vying for their turn to bang out quickly constructed and jangling melodies.
Into this fray comes one of the FSH single dads. He smiles at it all and then leans over the child currently at the piano bench–his son–and his big and gentle frame sort of takes over the scene. As he places his hands on the keys, it is apparent something more than banging is about to happen. And it does–suddenly over all the noise come lush notes. Intricate harmonies. Music that makes anyone within hearing distance stop what they’re doing and turn towards this something so beautiful.
Spend any amount of time at Family Scholar House, and you’ll know that within its walls dwell the remnants of broken lives. The families who live here have survived some of the very worst life can mete out and are headed into new and more whole realities–but the ghosts of what has been are always with them.
And then, sometimes, an unexpected piece of music–the kind so beautiful it makes your heart ache–comes working its warmth among us all, and in between the notes of it arrive new ways of doing and living and being. Out of despair comes hope. Out of desperation comes confidence and determination. Out of pain comes healing. Out of not knowing where to turn next comes a community to lean into and to trust.
Out of all the darkness comes something beautiful.
And in these moments, we breathe a collective “thank you,” for everything that makes the something beautiful happen.