The images from the historic flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas are heartbreaking – hundreds of thousands of people lost their homes and everything in them.
One resilient Texan went viral after video of him playing the piano amid the heavy flooding hit social media.
In the video, Friendswood resident and pastor Aric Harding sits at the piano, expertly playing it as waist-deep floodwaters ripple in the background.
I went back to our street today because as you guys have probably seen the water has come back with a vengeance. I hope this was its high point. I grabbed the kids' favorite stuffed animals that we had left behind and a couple of games to keep the kids occupied. I think it's all finally sinking in a little. What we used to have going as a city is gone. I really think God is going to do something completely new here. I am excited to see the new beauty in the suffering. Our pastor @bruce_wesley reminded us of that truth from Romans 8 this morning on his Facebook Live broadcast. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:18-28 ESV
Harding, a father of seven, had returned to his home, one of the 350,000 destroyed after Hurricane Harvey hit in August, to retrieve some of his children’s belongings, ABC News reported. He then stopped at the piano, which belonged to one of his sons, and had his friend record him as he played.
Harding said he did it to lift his children’s spirits and show his son that the piano was still working.
“For us, it’s a piece of music being this universal language for everyone. It’s always been a big part of my life. My family’s always been very musical,” he told KTRK. “From the moment we get up in the morning to the moment we go to sleep, we’ve got music going on in our house.”
Our street looks like a war zone. This our pantry door. @glennaharding my wife wrote this on there prob 9 months ago. Those words have never rang more true than they do today! "No matter what happens today, my greatest need has been met by Jesus!" #boldlove @clearcreekcommunitychurch #ccccrelief if you want to give to a reputable relief effort here in the area go to www.clearcreekrelief.org link in bio also
NEW BLOG: "Give Grace" – in this aftermath stage the most important thing we have to do is give grace. In this depth of personal need be even more selfless than normal. Take a few minutes to read this. I think it will serve you no matter where you are. Link in bio! https://medium.com/@aricharding/give-grace-73d4f05818be?source=linkShare-56bf89c485c6-1505135578
The moment was unplanned, especially among the chaos the hurricane caused, Harding said.
“It was kind of the first time for me that I had sat down and been still, you know since the storm. And so it was, it was an unintentional special moment,” Harding said.
In September, Harding announced that the family’s beloved piano had been played for the last time.
“The strings are all rust,” Harding said at the time. “The bass boards are starting to separate. The sound board is starting to separate. I think this may be it for the piano.”
Singer and pianist Vanessa Carlton was so touched by the video that she made it her own personal mission to get the Hardings a new piano.
This story is so important. Is there a way I can get his contact info? I'd like to get him a replacement piano if this one doesn't make it.
— Vanessa Carlton (@VanessaCarlton) August 31, 2017
— Vanessa Carlton (@VanessaCarlton) August 31, 2017
“She [Carlton] literally just calls me one morning like, ‘Hey, this is Vanessa,'” Harding said. “To have that kind of generosity, you know, to come about, that’s just one piece of the generosity that has happened not only for us but for other people in this area.”
The family received the piano on Saturday, and Harding’s son, Rylan, said he is blessed to be practicing again.
“Just being blessed to even have the chance to own one of these is amazing,” Rylor said.
A huge thank you to @yamahamusicusa @vanessacarltonactual and Fort Bend Music Center for making our new piano happen. It was a cool moment today when the piano rolled into the house and landed in its new home. This new piano sits almost in the exact location that our old piano sat. The sound of music will fill our home again. Our home is getting closer and closer everyday to being our new normal. Thank you guys for all your prayers!
— Vanessa Carlton (@VanessaCarlton) December 30, 2017
Harding’s video caused such an outpouring of generosity that others have also donated pianos to him and his family, he said. They plan on donating them to other residents in the area who also lost their pianos, as well as piano students in need.
“Hopefully, we can keep passing this forward a little bit,” he said.
The Hardings are almost finished rebuilding their home, almost four months after the hurricane hit. There’s still much on their to-do list, but the arrival of the piano brought a “sense of completion” to the ordeal.
“It’s a little piece of normal coming back,” Harding said.
2017 has been unlike any other year before. The highest of highs and the lowest of lows. We have never been alone!!! Thankful for our people and in awe of God. Thumbing thru my “to do” list on my phone from just the Christmas “break” helps me remember all that has been accomplished and all that still is staring me in the face. It’s my reminder that nothing is ever truly finished and I gotta enjoy the ride. I pray that 2018 is a great one for all of you guys too.
(H/T: ABC News)