Sunday, January 11, 2009
What are we missing?
Since a friend sent this to me across the internet, some of you may well have already heard the story, but, I who most often deletes a "forward" no matter WHO it comes from decided to open this one - here it is for you.....skip it or enjoy it:) I have a few of my own comments at the end......
A cold January morning, a man stood at a metro station in Washington, DC and started to play his violin. He played six Bach pieces - about 45 minutes. It was rush hour, with thousands of it people streaming through the station, most on their way to work. Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed the musician playing. The man slowed his pace, stopped for a few seconds, then hurried off to keep his schedule. A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip from a woman who never stopped but just threw money into the opened case. Minutes later, someone leaned against the wall, listened, then looked at his watch and walked off hurriedly, clearly late for work.
The most attentative pedestrian was a 3 year old boy. His mother, preoccupied, tried to drag the boy away but the kid stopped to look back at the violinist. With the mother insisting, the child reluctantly started to move, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children and, without exception, the parents, forced the children to move on.
During the 45 minute performance, 6 people stopped and actually lingered 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. No one applauded, nor offered any recognition.
No one knew the violinist was Joshua Bell, a world renowned musician. He played extraordinarily intricate pieces on a violin worth 3.5 million dollars. Two days prior to the subway, Mr. Bell sold out at a Boston theater with admission seats averaging $100.
Organized by the Washington Post, Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was part of a 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, how many other things are we missing?
I have reworked this story a little to shorten and clean up the grammatical errors - it's hard for me to believe that an actual reporter wrote the story as the phrasing and descriptions in it were somewhat awkward. I thought the story might even have been a new "urban legend" - a folk tale to relay a point, but looking up Mr. Bell on the internet, indeed this performance was actual. But whether true or a tale, it does make the point with questions regarding beauty, appreciation, recognition, and how much of this life is filled with beauty that we are too busy to notice?
My thought for you today is this - it's Sunday, there must be something beautiful in your life today no matter your surrounding circumstances, your faith, your vision for what's supposed to be happening today - don't miss out on that beauty because it's out of context or because you're too busy OR too idle to see it. Happy Sunday!