Illustration by G. Bjorn Thorkelson
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). This is the first scripture mastery verse I learned in my first year of seminary. After I memorized it, I tried to follow its teaching. I never knew who was watching me, but I wanted to set a good example for them. As I became good friends with my piano teacher, I learned that we can shine as bright as a candle and stand out in a group.
I’d begun practicing piano in kindergarten. After I finished sixth grade, my family moved to a different state, so I had to find a new music teacher. A friend at church suggested I take lessons from her instructor, Susan. At the time, Susan was teaching about 80 lessons a week and her schedule was very full. But she agreed to teach me and squeezed my piano lesson in right after school.
At each lesson, the first song I would practice would be a hymn. As I played, Susan sang the words and would often ask me questions about the scriptural meaning of the piece. This served as a great missionary opportunity. Susan and I had fun as we played duets and learned more about each other. I found out that she worked as the music director at her Catholic church. She always showed a great love for God, and I am glad we had such a strong relationship.
One day, Susan sent out invitations for a recital. At my lesson, she told me it would be our last performance. To her dismay, she had to close down her piano studio because our economic times hurt Susan financially and she knew she couldn’t pay the rent for her studio and keep her two other jobs going.
The night of the recital arrived and was filled with splendid talent and beautiful music. Before each student performed, Susan shared something unique about the person or information about the song he or she would play. As she stood before the audience to introduce me, she began to tear up. “I know that God sends certain people into our lives for a reason,” she began. She said she could see something bright and different about me. As she spoke about our friendship, I felt the Spirit strongly, and I could tell she felt it too. Then I played a duet with Susan for the finale of the recital.
The impact and importance of my lessons stretched far beyond improving my piano talent. There was a reason Susan chose to teach me even though she already had an overflowing list of students waiting for an open lesson. I know that because I tried to set a good example for Susan, she is now more familiar with the Church and its teachings. She has not given up her own religion to change faiths, but she knows about the restored gospel. I’m glad I could share my light with her.