I played the flute most of my life. I say it in the past-tense because I haven’t picked up my flute in quite a few years. When you have kids and work, some things naturally fall to the wayside. But I still love hearing it and bands that include the flute are among my favorites – I’m a big fan of Jethro Tull! I still have the flute my parents bought for me in junior high school. It’s a silver Gemeinhardt, beautiful to look at and to play.
Lately, I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in Philadelphia. My husband lives and works there and I spend weekends there and weeks in Pittsburgh. I was born and raised in the ‘Burgh, so it’s been an adjustment, but I am growing to love my second city. It’s vibrant, diverse and has an energy I enjoy. Many of my weekends are spent walking the streets, learning, exploring and meeting new people.
It was on one of those walks that I met a man who also played the flute. I’m willing to bet, based on the beautiful sound, he’s played the flute most of his life. I’m not sure what else in his life has fallen to the wayside, but it has not been his music. He’s also homeless and his flute has black duct tape holding the mouth piece onto the flute. Standing on the street corner, sharing his heart with whoever walked by, the difference between his life and my life is striking. The black mouthpiece is the smallest of things but has stuck with me. The image is seared in my mind’s eye, breaking my heart while filling it with gratitude.
One of the core values at Found Advisors is one we simply call “Service”. We commit to selflessly serving our clients, the business community, as well as those marginalized by society. As a team, we have fed unwed mothers, made winter care bags for the homeless, replaced the roof on a home. This month, we tried something different. Our fearless leader gave each of us $100 to use to commit random acts of kindness. We could do anything we wanted with the money, as long as it was of benefit to someone else.
At first, I found it difficult to figure out what to do. Then I realized that I didn’t have to “do” anything. I could simply respond to the need I saw as I went through my day. I do not know his name, but the man playing the flute on a street corner in Philadelphia was so gracious. I put $20 in his cup and he stopped playing to make sure I knew that I’d put that much in. He was ready to return it, in case I’d accidentally given him too much. We need a little more of that in our world and I truly needed to experience the world through his eyes and heart.