Some time ago there was a story about a baby boy in a Milwaukee hospital.
The baby was born blind and mentally retarded and had cerebral palsy.
He was little more than a vegetable and didn't respond to sound or touch.
His parents had abandoned him.
The hospital didn't know what to do with the child.
Then someone mentioned May Lempke, a nurse who lived nearby. She had already raised five children of her own.
May was asked to take the infant, being told, "He'll probably die Young."
May responded, "If I take the baby, he won't die young, and I'll be happy to take him."
May named the baby Les. It wasn't easy to care for him.
Every day she massaged the baby's entire body. She prayed over him; cried over him. A neighbor told her, "You're
wasting your life."
Years passed - five, ten, fifteen. It wasn't until Les was sixteen years old that May was able to teach him to stand alone. All this time he never responded to her.
But all this time May continued to love him and to pray over him.
Then one day May noticed Les's finger plucking a taut string on a package.
She wondered if it was possible that Les was sensitive to music?
May surrounded Les with music. She played every type of music imaginable, hoping that one might appeal to him.
Eventually May and her husband bought a second-hand piano and put it in Les's room. May took his fingers and showed him how to push the keys down, but Les didn't appear to understand.
Then one winter night May awoke to the sound of
someone playing Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No.1.
What May and her husband discovered was beyond their
wildest dreams. Les was sitting at the piano smiling and playing the piece by ear. It was too remarkable to be true.
Les had never gotten out of bed alone before. He'd never seated himself at the piano before.
He'd never even struck a key on his own. Now Les was playing
May dropped to her knees and said, "Thank you, God. You didn't forget Les."
Soon Les began to live at the piano. He played classical, country, ragtime, gospel and even rock.
It was absolutely incredible. All the music that May had played for him was stored in Les's brain and was now flowing out through his hands into the piano.
Les, when he was twenty-eight, began to talk. He didn't carry on extended conversations; but he did ask questions, give simple answers and make brief comments.
Les now plays concerts for church groups, civic groups, hospitals, support groups.
He even appeared on national television.
Doctors describe Les as an autistic savant, a person who is brain damaged, but extremely talented.
They can't explain this unusual phenomenon, although doctors have known about it for nearly two hundred years.
May Lernpke can't explain it either. But she does know how the talent can be
released - through compassionate love.