Sunday, January 11, 2009

Acknowledging the Joy in Our Journey

Well, I would be feeling much better but the medication they gave me for my cough has me nearly incapacitated. Thank you for all your input on last week's post. I will comment on that more later when I am capable of forming a complete thought.

Fortunately for all of us, my mom unknowingly saved the day. She does this often. She sent me this in an email earlier in the week and I really loved it. It is a fascinating story that really made me think (I read it before I got put on the medication). If you would like to read the story in its entirety (it is very long), check here.

A Violinist in the Metro

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.
A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again.Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.
Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats averaged $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of an social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written on an almost priceless instrument, how many other things are we missing?

This really hit home with me because it seemed right along the lines of this blog. I began this in an effort to more fully recognize the joy that I know is in my life, but I am somehow missing. I think this story reveals an important key to that puzzle. Sometimes all it takes to find joy is to look. Make time in your life to appreciate what is around you. Especially beauty. We all need more beauty in our lives.


Jennifer said...

I loved reading that email your mom sent and I think you hit it just right - we do need to look for the joy and beauty if our lives or we'll miss everything.

Ketchesons said...

I was also very touched by that email mom sent. I started to stop and look and I found so much joy at home when I see my girls eye sparkle because I made something special for them or on Dave's eyes when his girls run to him as he opens the door.
There is so much beauty around and it's the kind of beauty that makes our hearts smile.

Linda said...

First of all, Miss Piggy's quote made me chuckle. She has such self-confidence, doesn't she?!
Second of all, my resolution for the last few years has been to appreciate each moment and experience as I live it rather than missing the moment because I am planning the future or worrying about the past. I think I've made progress, but it's a challenge still. Since my father passed away a few weeks ago, I've felt like time has slowed down and I'm grateful for that. I have received so many acts of service and many thoughtful words. I am confident that people are like this all time, but I don't think I've appreciated them as much I do now. My increased awareness has helped me recognize their beauty. Thanks for your thoughts. I agree.

Cheryl said...

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