Thursday, January 29, 2009

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 thousand 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 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 average $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, how many other things are we missing?"

I loved this story when a friend sent it to me. For some reason, it really struck me at how much we let our pre-conceived ideas affect the way we view, listen, or experience the world- and the people in it. I take for granted too often the fact that my children are beautiful and healthy, that my husband will come home tonight again, that God is on His throne, and all is RIGHT in my world, because He is watching over me. I want to see the beauty that God has laid out before me everyday, and I want to appreciate it. I want to find the balance between loving people through their hurts, yet not letting the ugly in this world weigh me down. Balance, Renee, balance. :) I think this story was just for me- so God could show me....how much I miss. He is GOOD, His world is GOOD, I just need to open my eyes and see past the obvious.

"To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence; and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time of peace...
He has made everything beautiful in it's time." Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, 11a

1 comment:

Carrie said...

All I can think when I look at that picture of Steve is, "Why is he jumping on a trampoline with a big stick in his hand? He's going to impale himself." I'm such a Mom. To everyone apparently. :)