He never felt so alive, sitting in the auditorium, surrounded by so many people, listening to music flow from the piano.  It was like magic to his ears, healing him, caressing him, letting him know that everything was ok.  He was forgiven.

         He felt like a newborn baby being cradled in his mother’s arms, looking up into her soft, reassuring eyes.  She smiled down sweetly to him.  He felt protected, he felt loved, the kind of love that only a mother can provide.  He let the beauty of the music fall over him, washing his sins away.

         Everyone in that auditorium had more money than he did, had more power than he did, had done so much more with their lives than he had, but sitting there, listening to the music, he felt equal to them.  No one was better than him and he was no better than them.  His entire life he had always felt worthless; like he didn’t belong; like he didn’t deserve to live on this planet with the rest of society. 

         Today; however, he had been given a second chance.  The music had given him a second chance.  It had healed him, it had inspired him, it had broken the shackles of slavery his father had bound him to at such a young age.  He had hated his father, had blamed his father for everything that went wrong in his life.  All the beatings, the verbal abuse, the mental torture he had endured throughout his childhood.  But now, he could forgive his father, just as he had forgiven himself.  The music gave him the courage to forgive, gave him the strength to actually love his father.

         For the first time in his life, Daryl accepted full responsibility for everything.  Everything that ever happened to him and everything that he had ever done.  If the people sitting in that auditorium had known the crimes he had committed, known the unspeakable acts he had performed, would they forgive him?  Daryl sat there and wondered for a brief moment, and then, he let it go.  The music helped him let it go. 

         Accepting full responsibility put Daryl in complete control of his life.  Now, he could go forward and bring beauty to the world.  For all the ugliness he had unleashed, he was going to go forth and erase all of it.  He was going to be the proof that we can change, that we can overcome all obstacles placed before us.

         Daryl sat there in utter awe, feeling reborn.  He looked around the auditorium, happy to be sitting around so many beautiful people.  He felt one with all of them.  He knew he was connected to them all.  Tears started streaming down his face.  He didn’t bother to wipe them away.  He didn’t care who saw him cry.

         The music finally came to a beautiful crescendo, then stopped.  The auditorium erupted in applause.  Daryl leaped to his feet, clapping his hands enthusiastically, his heart full of gratitude.  He started to laugh.  It was the first time he had laughed in his entire adult life. 

         He finally felt at home.

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