Mona Lisa At The Station
As I waited on the platform for the Blue Line to carry me back from downtown to O’Hare, the usual dull roar was replaced with a clear tenor voice singing Nat King Cole's “Mona Lisa.” Wow. What a voice! There aren’t enough “o’s” in smooth. This guy was good. And old. And missing most of his teeth. He was obviously singing for money as indicated by the open fabric bag on the ground.
I told him how beautiful his voice was, and requested a Sinatra tune. He struggled to come up with one off the top of his head, and thought for at least one full minute in silence.
I finally helped him out by suggesting “Fly Me To The Moon.” His eyes brightened. He jumped a cappella right into verse one: every lyric, no mistakes. Then, that old familiar chorus. He easily rounded into verse two like an old pro. Inflection. Phrasing. The timbre of a true jazz artist. Wow. He stopped abruptly, and smiled gum-to-gum as if he had just seen an old friend.
The first few lyrics of that second verse are what stood out to me:
“Fill my heart with song, Let me sing forevermore.”
I realize the this man was using his God-given talent, and loving it. I don’t know what his previous life was, although he mentioned some of the rooms he had played in his jazz singing career. But what I do know is that, in spite of his situation, down on his luck, he returned to using his gifts and blessing the lives around him.
In our current job, or joblessness, or situation or consideration, are we using what we're good at? You know, that thing that we do. And when we do, it fills us up? That talent, that we were born with, might just be the very thing that sets us apart and gives us a sense of purpose.
Go sing your song.