the compliment as being untrue, because I knew the real truth about me. In later life, I came to acknowledge that my thoughts about myself were distorted, and that my behavior was a false kind of humility—that it was actually more humble to let someone speak till they were finished, to absorb the wealth of their words, and to graciously say thank you.
Sometimes a compliment is worded and delivered in such a way that it gives you important information about yourself - information about how you naturally function, but to which, so far, you've been oblivious. It awakens something deep within, and you rise up to receive what feels like a mantle being bestowed upon you.
A blessing like that came to me from a group of high school students back in 2005. They had performed a piece I wrote for a big theatrical dance program. Proceeds from the event were earmarked for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and during the performance of the song each night, a video was shown of the particular kids chosen to benefit from those proceeds. The movie ended with my own eight-year-old daughter at Disney World on her very own Make-A-Wish trip, hugging Minnie Mouse—just four days before she passed away.
Compliments are like wind in our sails. I love to give them, and I'm learning to get better at receiving them. As a kid, I would quickly deflect nice things people would say, thinking it was vain to let someone go on about me. Or, worse yet, I would negate
It was all very emotional. We heard sniffles coming from the audience, and the singers were teary, too. After the last performance, the students gave me a cast picture, a handmade bracelet, and a card with these words tucked in the middle of all their signatures: Thank you for teaching us how to love through music. That simple sentence landed so deeply within my heart, I can't tell you. If I do nothing more in this world, how wonderful is just that?
I hope to love through my words as well. As you wander around this site, perhaps you'll find something to walk away with—some music, some words, some inspiration, some love. I offer the loaves and fishes in my basket. The rest is up to divine multiplication. —AB