The cool of the evening drew me outside the orphanage that had drawn my family to Juarez, Mexico. We’d spent the day painting rooms. Another team in our group had poured a cement foundation for an addition to the orphanage. The summer heat had baked out our energy by the end of the day.
Our group had planned a concert for later in the week and I needed time to polish the music. My teenage daughter joined me with her flute in hand.
We worked our way through a song and then looked up to see a handful of children gathered on the street in front of us. We smiled at them and they smiled back. I moved on to the next song on my list, singing the words as my daughter played the flute. More children gathered.
I smiled at them and they smiled back.
With each song came more children and we were surrounded by bright eyes and wide smiles.
“What do we do?” my daughter whispered.
“We need to practice. They don’t speak English so they’ll probably get bored soon,” I said. We kept playing. The children kept gathering. We all kept smiling.
They didn’t seem to mind our mistakes or when we stopped and started over again. If we laughed at missed notes, they joined the laughter.
The crowd filled the street and stretched as far to either side as I could see. Not that I looked up much because I was concentrating on chords and words.
But then we began one of the last songs on our list. We sang the words, “Jesus loves me, this I know…” and I heard a chorus of voices echoing us in Spanish. At first, only a few figured out the song but their singing crescendoed as others joined in.
We sang in English, they sang in Spanish, and, together, our music filled the street with one of the sweetest sounds I’ll hear this side of heaven.