By Rev. Robert J. Hermley

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The pianist had finished her concert.  She had been playing for almost an hour, and the crowd gave her a standing ovation.  She bowed to acknowledge their adulation.  She waved and owed again, smiling broadly.  The usher came down the aisle bringing her a large bouquet of long stemmed roses.  She smile as she accepted them and held them up for the audience to see.  They responded with continued applause.

Suddenly from the aisle, a woman spring forth with a single rose and called out to the pianist, "Ellen do you remember me?  It's Rita; we used to go school together."  "Rita, exclaimed the pianist, of course I remember you."  She handed Ellen the rose, and pressed a picture into her open hand.  "I know you are terribly busy, but this is a picture of my family.  On the back I have written my address and phone number.  Please call me sometime.  I have followed your career for years; I am so happy for you - and a little jealous.  You must be very happy."

The theatre emptied, and the pianist return to her dressing room.  She gently placed the bouquet on the table, taking special care to place the single rose in front of her.  She looked at the picture and smiled.  There was Rita, and next to her was a tall handsome man and three beautiful children.  "What a lovely family,"  she thought: "they all look so happy.  How lucky she is," thought the pianist.

"Tonight, I'll go to a glamorous success party where hundreds will come to say that they saw me and talked to me.  Some will come hoping that I will introduce them to the right people.  Most of them will come because they have something they want, or are curious about; but there will be no one coming because they truly love me.  Afterwards, I will go home alone to an empty apartment - a beautiful hotel, nevertheless, but to an empty room, no loving husband, no loving children waiting like Rita.  How lucky she is; I envy her."

Across town somewhere, Rita was putting her last child to bed.  Her head was still swimming in the glamour of the evening's performance.  She kissed the child and looked at him tenderly.  "You are so beautiful," she thought, and I have such a lovely husband and warm family, but I still would like to experience the fame and glamour Ellen has.  She must be very happy; I envy her."