Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How one person can make a difference

Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.  --Alma 37:6

I have written before about the major impact seemingly small choices and experiences can make on one's life.  Likewise also is the impact of one person.  Though years and distance may separate us, I firmly believe that God has a purpose for every acquaintanceship we make. 

With that said, I want you to click on this link right now.  Just do it.  Take a look around, then come back.

Who is that?

I will tell you who he is.

Once upon a time, there were no piano videos to blog.  There was no dream of a music career.  There was just a very young Nathan, who, despite having a piano teacher sent from Heaven itself, struggled to find the spark and considered too many things more enjoyable than practicing.

But that young Nathan went to elementary school with a young Kevin Bluemel.  And Kevin was the piano guy.  At all the talent shows, he was the one to watch.  If it had anything to do with music, you just knew to go to him.  Like the rest of the school, I knew who he was.  And, as it did everyone else, it amazed me that someone as young as he could play the piano so well.

Fate stepped in when Kevin and I were put in the same class my fifth grade year.  We quickly became the best of friends, and as I got to know him better, so too did I get to know his music.  So, when I broke my leg later that winter, I recognized a song from Kevin's repertoire as it played on the radio during my ride to the hospital.  It was David Lanz's Spiral Dance (appropriate, considering I had just suffered a spiral fracture), and it brought me some comfort because it reminded me of my friend.       

I told him this, and during the first few days of my recovery, Kevin brought a couple of "get well" gifts--including a tape on which he had recorded himself playing Spiral Dance and about a dozen other songs by the same composer.  That music inspired me while I learned to walk again.  It inspired me after I healed.  And, it continued to inspire me even after Kevin and I went our separate ways in junior high.

Then, just before the start of ninth grade, I finally decided to do something about that inspiration . . . and I bought a piano book that contained several of the songs that were on that tape.  That's when the addiction began: that's when the piano became as much of a need for me as food or air.  All of a sudden I was practicing several hours each and every day--nothing was more enjoyable.  My piano lessons became jam sessions.  I sought out more opportunities to perform.  As time passed, confidence grew, and music became my life.  That book still sits in a high place among my most prized possessions; it is worn from much use, some pages torn, and other pages even stained with blood.

Those who know me, or have read my blog very much at all, will know where that passion has gone.  It is still very much alive.  I consider music to be my identity; to take it away would be like erasing my face, or removing my limbs.  I would be much different.  My life would lack so much color, so much feeling.  

And I doubt I would have ever discovered that passion for music--that identity--had I never known Kevin Bluemel.  I couldn't tell him until just recently what his talent meant to me; he didn't know it, but something so simple as just being himself and sharing his gift made such an impact on my life that my very identity was shaped for years to come.  I can never repay him.

Thus it is for all of us.  We will never know in this life who all we have touched, nor how deeply.  Sometimes, it's even the person we least expect.  There's no such thing as "nobody's watching"; there will always be someone who notices who you are, or how you act, or what you say.  Your talents and your personality are among the most powerful gifts you have, and very often without even being aware of them, you make a difference to somebody simply because you're there, doing what you do.  That's the point I'm trying to make with this post: one person can make a difference, and more often than not, that person is you.  I have named just one example here--but an example he most certainly is!

So, where is Kevin now?  I mentioned that we went our separate ways in junior high.  It wasn't like we meant for that, or anything; life just happened, and we both had our own paths to follow.

But I never forgot my old friend.  Years have passed, and I have often wondered where his music career was--not if it had taken off, because I always knew he would be successful.  Finally tired of wondering, I went on the search a few weeks ago.

And I'm pleased to say my friend is doing very well:

If you liked that, there's a newly remastered download of it available for free on Kevin's website.  While you're at it, check out his album, and keep an eye out for the release of his next album in 2012!


Cindy said...

I've been thinking a lot lately how one person can make such a difference in our lives. I believe you probably would have found your music love anyways. People with passion for music are born with it...they just have to discover it. But wouldn't life be different if you didn't discover it until you were 40 instead of 14? (I'm just throwing out an age here).

I believe Heavenly Father, in His great mercy, allows us to have these encounters with people who inspire us, who help us, and who challenge us to become great. Truly, it is a tender mercy.

olde.fashioned said...

I didn't peek at the rest of your entry until I'd "taken a look around" like you said, and I wound up deciding on the exact same video you posted further down. LOL!

If it had anything to do with music, you just knew to go to him.

Would it be weird if I said that whenever my brain wanders to a musical question, it answers itself with the idea of running off to ask "NATHAAAAAN!!!"? ;P

I've definitely pondered the "what would have happened if I had never met ___" question. The idea of everyone being in our lives by design, for a specific reason is fascinating. Also, too, recently I came face to face with "being watched" when I thought no one was looking (in a good way). Definitely food for thought, and it kind of makes you sit up a little straighter, doesn't it?

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