Saturday, April 14, 2007

Flipping Quarters at HIM

Probably some of you have read or heard about the experiment that Washington Post conducted on January 12, 2007. While I was reading the article, I cried. They had a world renowned violinist, Joshua Bell - who earns $1,000 per minute of playing, play several classical pieces. He played six classical pieces for 43 minutes, among them are; "Chaconne" from Johann Sebastian Bach's Partita No. 2 in D Minor and "Ave Maria" from Franz Schubert. The violin that he used was a Stradivari from 1710s which roughly costs more than $3.5 million dollars. "It was 7:51 a.m. on Friday, January 12, the middle of the morning rush hour. In the next 43 minutes, as the violinist performed six classical pieces, 1,097 people passed by. Almost all of them were on the way to work, which meant, for almost all of them, a government job. L'Enfant Plaza is at the nucleus of federal Washington, and these were mostly mid-level bureaucrats with those indeterminate, oddly fungible titles: policy analyst, project manager, budget officer, specialist, facilitator, consultant." People with all kinds of titles and roles, in their busyness, did not even hear the beauty. The first person to actually stop to listen had 3 minutes spare time before he had to get to work. About what he heard he said, "Whatever it was, it made me feel at peace." Then he went back to work forgetting every thing about the peace. Another person who notices is a 3 year old child.

"I had a time crunch," recalls Sheron Parker, an IT director for a federal agency. "I had an 8:30 training class, and first I had to rush Evvie off to his teacher, then rush back to work, then to the training facility in the basement."

Evvie is her son, Evan. Evan is 3.

You can see Evan clearly on the video. He's the cute black kid in the parka who keeps twisting around to look at Joshua Bell, as he is being propelled toward the door.

This is what the mother said, "There was a musician, and my son was intrigued. He wanted to pull over and listen, but I was rushed for time."

Jesus had something to say about this, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Picarello who heard the music that morning had a different reason for not stopping and admiring the beauty. He said "I walked a distance away, to hear him. I didn't want to be intrusive on his space." Picarello knew classical music but was too "modest" to meet the musician. This is what he said, "This was a superb violinist. I've never heard anyone of that caliber. He was technically proficient, with very good phrasing. He had a good fiddle, too, with a big, lush sound. I walked a distance away, to hear him. I didn't want to be intrusive on his space." Of all the people that morning only one person recognized Joshua Bell. Three week's earlier she had seen Bell at a free concert at the Library of Congress. She listened to him standing 10 feet away from him and after he finished his piece, she introduced her self to him, thanked him, and tossed a $20 bill and walked away. This is what she had to say, "It was the most astonishing thing I've ever seen in Washington, Joshua Bell was standing there playing at rush hour, and people were not stopping, and not even looking, and some were flipping quarters at him! Quarters! I wouldn't do that to anybody. I was thinking, Omigosh, what kind of a city do I live in that this could happen?" When it was over, she introduced herself to Bell, and tossed in a twenty. Not counting that -- it was tainted by recognition. This story reminded me of myself. God the creator of EVERYTHING is singing and making melodies all over us. The most beautiful thing in the entire universe, Jesus Christ, is dancing all around us.
  1. Are we listening to HIM in our spare time? Even though it brings peace in us we don't have time to be with HIM. He wants us to dance with HIM.
  2. Do we in our rush for time ignore the pleas of little children who does admire beauty? And, block them from listening.
  3. Are we too modest? And, stand at a distance not to be "intrusive on HIS space". Even though we know HIM and all the technicalities about HIM...
  4. Or, do we flip quarters at HIM or in our good day if we do recognize HIM shove a $20 bill? Just to say we recognize you and blame it on the city, others, for not recognizing.
I saw myself as the fourth person. I saw HIM at a free concert, when I do see HIM in my everyday life I will stop and listen, admire HIM and introduce myself, thank HIM and toss a $20 bill and walk away. That I'll do it in my good day, usually I'm content at tossing pennies at HIM. Pennies...!!! Most of the thousand people would have probably listened to Bell if he was playing at some very important gathering, or would have paid $150 to go to Carnegie Hall. At those places they would look very important and its a alloted time in their schedule to listen to Bell. They would even critic the pieces with their friends and really listen to what others had to say about the music. But, the same people saw Bell wearing street clothes and playing the same pieces that he would normally play. And, since the situation did not focus on them, and was not a part of their schedule, and hadn't paid money to be there, they hardly noticed him. At church, we pay money to be there "tithe", its a alloted time in our schedule - once or twice a week, we will listen to the "music" being played, we will talk with our friends about it; But, as soon as we leave the building we'll forget it and even if we hear the same "music", played by the same artist, outside in our normal life we will not notice it!!!!! You can read the whole article here. If you don't have time to read the whole article watch the video clips posted in the article.

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