is it we often find it most difficult to express our feelings for
the ones who mean the most to us? For years I struggled with the
frustration of not being able to break these chains and tell my
father exactly what he means to me. I believe the answer to this
question for me lies within the limitations posed by our overused
language. It seems as though all the really powerful words have
been used so many times by so many people with so little thought
that they have been rendered meaningless. I could tell him again
that I love him, but how many times have I said, "I love cinnamon
rolls," or "I love tennis?" How do my feelings for
my dad compare to pastry or even the most thrilling of games? We
are forced to use the same words to attempt to convey vastly different
-------Quite often music can come close
to describing what words cannot. My father and I are both musicians.
I thought to myself, “This must be the key." I knew it
still wouldn't be easy though, for our musical tastes vary so.
Finally, a song made its way into the popular charts that came very
close to explaining how I felt about my father. I knew I could never
have gotten closer to portraying my sentiments musically than this.
Why then did I still have trouble mustering the courage to share
this song with my father?
-------I spoke to a friend of mine
about it briefly. He was one of my most inspirational music teachers
and therefore understands the potential music has for moving the
soul. Though I barely mentioned the song or its meaning to my teacher,
I would later find that I had actually expressed to him much more
than the mere content of my dialogue. When the song came up in a
casual conversation weeks later, my teacher looked at me with a
warm and empathetic look on his face. "I wish your father knew
how much that song means to you." I had told him nothing that
would imply the magnitude of my heartfelt emotions, and my father
never came up in the context of this conversation. My feelings had
evidently come across in something other than my words. Somehow
I felt a resurgent confidence in the power of communication.
-------"Now or never" time
arrived one night when my father and I were in the house alone.
I happened to be listening to this very record when he walked into
the room. It was an unusual situation, for he had never before walked
in and sat down, showing an interest in what I was listening to.
I was frightened, for I knew if I failed to share the song with
him in this moment, which had presented itself graciously, I'd surely
never find the nerve to initiate an opportunity on my own.
-------I lifted the stylus from the
vinyl grooves and searched for the words to describe what the song
meant to me. I stumbled through an awkward introduction and placed
the stylus in the groove at the beginning of the spinning platter.
As the opening chords sounded I moved to a location in the room
outside my father's line of sight and listened nervously while he
followed the lyric sheet I had handed him.
-------He had few words to describe
the song and this momentous event. They were very generic, often
repeated words; something like "That's nice” or "Pretty
good." Hardly earth shattering remarks, but now I could empathize
with my teacher. There was more conveyed in his modest muttering
than mere sentiment. As he left the room I sank in the relief of
having made a courageous attempt at getting my message across. Furthermore,
I knew he had received at least a miniscule portion of the immense
gratitude I wished to express.
© 2004 - The Trill House