Make it right.
Andy has a sister named Grace. She is Deaf. Growing up, Andy never bothered to learn sign language. Grace was really good at reading lips—so they communicated like that. Not a perfect system but mostly, it worked pretty well.
Andy grew up and created a successful career as a rapper, singer, and producer—making music, living his dream, touring to fifty cities a year. He created several huge hits—including one song that got 11 million views on YouTube and 56 million listens on Spotify.
The media praised Andy for being a “different” kind of rapper. Instead of putting fast cars, Rolex watches, and liquor into his song lyrics, Andy raps about God’s unconditional love, having faith, overcoming challenges, and doing the right thing.
And yet, despite all of his success, something gnawed at Andy’s heart…
As the years passed, he felt increasingly guilty that he didn’t know how to speak American Sign Language (ASL). At family events—birthdays, graduations—he’d watch his sister Grace signing with her friends and loved ones and Andy had no idea what anybody was saying. He couldn’t participate in the conversation, at least, not fully. Through his own choices, he had cut himself out. He felt ashamed, like there was a rift between him and his sister, a disconnection caused by his own laziness.
Andy wondered, “What kind of brother am I?” He felt awful, realizing, “If I were in Grace’s position, I would feel hurt.”
He became determined to fix this. It was time to make things right.
Andy spent a whole year studying ASL in secret. Then—during International Week of the Deaf—he released a new music video called “Hear My Heart” as a tribute to his sister. In the video, he sings while signing the lyrics at the same time. Grace had no idea he’d been working on this project. It was a total surprise—and it was Andy’s way of saying “I love you, I’m sorry, and I pledge to be a better man and brother from now on.”
Nowadays, at concerts, Andy performs this song in total silence, signing the words with no sound. It’s another tribute to his sister—and to everyone in the audience who has ever felt isolated or forgotten.
Just like Andy, we all have the ability to make new choices, make amends, and make an effort to be a little better than we were yesterday. Just like Andy, in our own individual ways, we can turn guilt into art.
It’s never too late to close the rift… to apologize… to forgive everyone and yourself… to write that long overdue letter… to pay back that friend who loaned you two hundred dollars (even though it was ten years ago)… to pay it forward… to keep the promise you’ve made… or the promise you should have made years ago.
It’s never too late to make it right.