A little piece about forgiveness

Once upon a time, I was the music director for a theater company in a smallish town in Iowa.

And, one spring, the artistic director and I were … umm… let’s say I was worried about what was happening in the rehearsal process of one of the productions (which I was experiencing as an actor, which we can all forget about now since I’m no kind of actor at all).

And he brushed off my worries, and then a few weeks later (the entirely predictable) disaster happened and the show wasn’t ready to open. Which was decided by the artistic director … after the dress rehearsal. About 18 hours before the intended opening night.


I was SO angry at him for what we in the cast went through to get that show up.

He didn’t acknowledge that I had warned him several weeks in advance and therefore it might have been possible to avert disaster; I didn’t forgive him for ignoring my warnings.

That show had a shortened run, and we were already preparing the next show, for which I was writing some incidental music.

He and I managed to keep working together, but I was still pretty … righteous … about the earlier mix-up and he felt that every time we had to interact.

This went on for a month or so. I just wanted him to say, “Yes, Tink (his nickname for me), I needed to spend more time at those rehearsals. I’m sorry I didn’t. I know it made things hard for the cast.” Which he didn’t say. 

And then one day, he called me up out of the blue and did say it, and my anger just went poof. Oh I wanted to still be mad, but I couldn’t; the anger dissipated the moment he said, “I’m sorry.”

I of course teased him and said, “But now I can’t even be mad at you!” We laughed and were friends again.

I felt so light-heared and happy when we hung up that I went straight to my piano and began playing lovely new music: serene, then melancholy, then serene again with added sparkle  the pinch of having held anger and the lightness of releasing it. Such a beautiful piece flowed through me, just as if it had been simply waiting for its moment.

Not too long after that, my birthday came around. And the artistic director showed up at my house with a gift: a small Imperial topaz that I’d been eyeing at our local jewelry store for months.

the topaz

t-h-e topaz

So I named the piece Topaz.

And Topaz became the title of my first recording (released only on cassette).

Topaz cover cropped

And Topaz Productions became the name for my company, since I formed it to produce Topaz the cassette.

Which just shows how very powerful it is to forgive!

PS: Should I have forgiven him without his apology? Yes, yes, I should have. I hope I have learned that much at least!

PPS: I have never released the cassette Topaz as a CD, and I never will. All the pieces I like enough to re-record, however, have been re-released on my various CDs. Topaz the piece is the last of them, funnily enough; and it is included on Passages.

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