Airport totally crowded. As I get ready to board two young brothers catch my attention. One is about 11 and the other around 7. I watch as they weave through the mass of people each with a violin case in their hands. The older brother suddenly stops, puts his case on the ground, pulls out his violin and is about to start playing. I’m about 50 feet away from them but I can see the little brother is suddenly struck with fear. His face goes completely white.
The older brother leans down, I imagine offering some words of encouragement, but the younger brother shakes his head “no”. More encouraging words, but they’re not getting through, there is no way the younger brother is going to do this. Most of the airport is oblivious to the boys and their discussion, but I find myself completely entranced, rooting for the little brother to find the courage to play his violin. A couple minutes go by and the older brother finally decides to get down on a knee and plead with his little brother for the last time. This time something somehow resonates and the little brother very timidly and slowly pulls his violin out of the case. If there was a picture of fear in the dictionary it would be this little boy at this exact moment.
The older brother starts playing before his younger brother can reconsider. It takes a second for both violins to hit the same chords and then suddenly “Silent Night” begins to float through the air. I watch as everyone in the airport stops and takes in this unexpected scene for the first time. The boys are really talented and their music seems to have the power to suddenly put everyone in a good mood. As the song comes to an end, the entire airport erupts in applause and I notice that the fear that was on the little brother just a moment ago has now turned to pure joy. The boys continue playing as more and more people start to gather around them.
As I board my plane I watch the smile on the little brother’s face and think about how there is always something amazingly awesome and beautiful on the other side of fear, and hope that I have the same courage as those little boys next time I need it.