This time of year I love to drag out my old Percy Faith Christmas music. His composing and arranging has always been right at the top of my list, along with Jackie Gleeson, Henry Mancini, and Herb Albert.
But Percy is probably my favorite. And, unfortunately these days, I notice that many people haven’t even heard of Percy Faith. Thankfully, I was exposed to really good music growing up. My mom loves orchestra, and if not for her I probably wouldn’t have heard of Percy Faith either.
Percy was born in Canada, the eldest of eight children. His father worked as a tailor, but his uncle was a well-known violinist. Percy started violin lessons at the age of seven years, but switched to the piano a few years later. By the time he was eleven years old he was proficient and gave his first performance in a silent theater.
He went on to study classical music with Frank Welsman at the Toronto Conservatory of Music (now called Royal Conservatory of Music). By the time he was fifteen years old he gave his concert debut in Toronto’s most esteemed concert venue, Massey Hall.
Make no mistake, this young pianist was going places!
Then, during his eighteenth year, Percy’s younger sister’s clothing caught fire—and he put it out with his hands. His actions saved her life, but the damage to Percy’s hands ended his career as a pianist. Such giftedness, seemingly, all for naught.
But Percy would overcome his tremendous disability. He had other gifts: composing and producing. He went on to conduct and record over eighty albums and produced thirty-six singles. And what beautiful music! I don’t think Percy Faith composed a single piece that I don’t love.
He overcame an incredible obstacle in order to share his gifts with the rest of the world.
As writers we face what appear to be insurmountable obstacles. Most of us have a general idea of where our gifts and talents lie, and we attempt to share them with the rest of the world. Unlike Percy, very many of us don’t have to worry about our gifts being consumed by fire. Nonetheless, the rejection of our gifts is oftentimes very painful. But in Jesus Christ, we can have peace and overcome.
On the night of the last supper, Jesus told His disciples to prepare themselves for what was getting ready to happen. He would be arrested, put on trial, and the disciples would retreat to their own homes, leaving Jesus alone to face the crucifixion. But Jesus encouraged them with these words, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 ESV
Though the world rejects our gifts and talents, in Jesus Christ we can have peace and eventually overcome. In this world we will have tribulation, Jesus has already forewarned us of that. But through Him we can find peace for our weary spirits, and confidence that He has already overcome the rejection of the world.
Paul wrote, 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21 ESV
The evil of what the fire did to Percy’s hands could have made it so easy for him to curse perhaps his little sister, give up on music, and become a bitter man. But he didn’t. He found a way to share his gift of music, and went on to bless generations.
We can too! Though we are rejected often as writers, whether a bad review, a manuscript rejection, or because of a lack of support, we can overcome and have peace through Jesus Christ. For whatever reason, Jesus has given us these stories and through Him we’ll find a way to share them wherever He has already deemed necessary.
4 Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints,
and give thanks to his holy name.
5 For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning. Psalm 30:4-5 ESV
Have a blessed day of writing for the Lord!
© 2017, Ta`Mara Hanscom