Sunday, 20 January 2013
Ordinary music . . .
I recently read a story which has stuck with me all week. As far as I know it is a true story.
It was a cold January morning and a young man sat busking in a Metro Station in Washington, DC playing his violin. The music went on for 45 minutes. He played six Bach pieces, which took him approximately an hour, during which time it is estimated that roughly 1000 people walked past him, most being on their way to work. During that time it was noted that only six people actually stopped to listen for a while, most just rushed by him. In that hour he collected $32, mostly from people who threw their coins into his violin case as they quickly walked past him.
The one paying the most attention to him was a three year old boy, whose mother tugged him along, hurrying along and dragging her child away from what was obviously really fascinating him, for he continued to look back as they went. There were several other children who did the same . . . and whose parents, without exception, forced them to move along.
Nobody was aware that this was World Class Violinist, Joshua Bell, who . . . only two nights previously . . . had sold out a theatre in Boston where seats for concerts averaged a cost of $100. One of the most talented musicians in the world, he had just played one of the most intricate pieces ever written . . . on a violin worth several million dollars . . . and yet nobody, with very few exceptions, even noticed. There was no applause or recognition, and when he was finished it was as if he had never even been there . . . and yet there had been at least a thousand people who had had the opportunity to enjoy this impromptu free concert.
I am quite sure that whilst I may have stopped for a few minutes to listen . . . I often do . . . I would probably have made my way along to work or whatever other errand were calling me at the time. I often watch and listen to the Buskers in Chester when we are in town, but I seldom stand and watch them for any more than a few minutes. When I read this story about Joshua Bell . . . I was brought up short, and I wondered how many blessings we actually miss in our lives because we are too busy to notice them, or to stop to appreciate them.
How much beauty do we look past in our striving to achieve or to discover something better? How many blessings do we fail to experience . . . because we can't slow ourselves down long enough to experience them? We say we enjoy the simple things in life . . . and yet we often spend more time chasing after greater things, brushing aside the simple as being humdrum and inconsequential.
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
Over these past few years, I have made it my mission to embrace simplicity . . . and to be grateful no matter the circumstance. Through that journey I have discovered that less truly IS more and that life IS only as beautiful as we choose to make it. That our lives are richly embroidered with the threads and stitches of simple joys and pleasures, which could so very easily be missed did we not slow down to take note and enjoy them. That amidst pain and despair . . . there can be great beauty, and . . . yes . . . much hope.
That beauty and joy is truly to be found in the small ordinary details of life . . . a table smartly set with love and care, a wrinkled face which glows with experience, the way the light falls through the window and across the table on a late Winter's afternoon . . . the sight of a wag-tail hopping along the shed roof on a cold, cold day, looking for sustenance . . . simple labors often taken for granted, but which can noticeably lift the soul if one but lets them . . . duty observed with loving ministration, a smile, a touch, a voice . . . a sigh . . . there is unexpected music to be found in the simple ordinary moments of life
We must never be so busy or in so much of a hurry that we fail to acknowledge the gift that each day brings us . . . moment by moment, small joy by small joy . . . simple thing by simple thing.
"If the stars would appear but one night every thousand years how man would marvel and adore."
~Ralph Waldo Emmerson
Yesterdays Silver Lining . . . an afternoon with nowhere to go and nothing to do but watch my pencil scratch across the pad of my art paper, creating, dreaming . . . discovering.
A thought to carry with you through today . . .
"Don't let the good things of life rob you of the best things."
~Maltbie D Babcock
Baking in The English Kitchen today . . . Sour Cherry Amaretti. Delicious!
I hope you all have a wonderful and very blessed Sabbath day filled bountifully with small wonders.