I was raised on music. I knew what music was before I knew the face of my mother. My mother would always hold a speaker to her tummy when she was pregnant with me, and she will swear, even today, that I danced inside her. I'm not sure what I was doing or thinking when she played music to me, but I'm sure she was right.
My childhood wasn't the best of childhoods, but it wasn't the worst... Thanks to music. I grew up in a home with fighting, hitting, hurting, threats, and guns. Any time any of that flew around, I'd turn music on, or there would be music playing. Some memories, I can't even remember what was said or done completely, but I will remember ever word and note of the song that was playing. At age three my mom got me a small keyboard, and I had it until I was eight. I'd spend hours on that thing, just playing. I wouldn't know any songs, but I'd still play. Random notes that sounded good to me, it didn't really matter.
I continued to play piano and for years I played by sound, heart, and instinct. One day a Vietnam Vet was sitting at a piano at a Vet's home, and he was playing a simple little tune. Soft, delicate, and calm, I sat down beside him right after I got home from being overseas, and I joined him. He didn't mind. Instead he looked at me and smiled, and played even better. We sat there for hours, and just played. After we were done he looked at me and said, "That was the best few hours of my musical life, and I lived through the 60's and 70's."
I realized then, my calling wasn't to fight. It wasn't to fight next to the brave men and woman overseas. My calling was to be here when they got home. To be here when the Vets that came home had nowhere to go, and would end up in places like this. When they couldn't go it alone and no one would help because they didn't want to deal with them, and leave them here. I was to be here to listen to them, to wipe their tears away, take care of simple needs they can't do any longer, or to be that person they know could be there when they die... To let those Vets know, they're not alone, and they're not left behind, because no one gets left behind.