Thursday, January 17, 2013
God Made Time, but Man Made Haste (Irish Proverb)
Oh I rush and rush until life's no fun
All I've really gotta do is live and die
But I'm in a hurry and don't know why....
~Roger Murrah and Randy VanWarmer
I was just reminded in a book I’m reading of the story about Joshua Bell, a famous violinist, who agreed to perform incognito as a street musician in a Washington, D.C. subway station. For about forty-five minutes, he performed on his 300 year old Stradivarius, worth 3.5 million dollars, some of the greatest violin music ever composed. Only days before, patrons had paid at least $100 to hear a similar performance in Boston’s Symphony Hall.
As you can guess, most people hurried by, some dropping change in his case without breaking stride. Only seven people out of over a thousand paused to listen. I probably would have been one of the ones racing by, except when my son James was a young boy.
I lived in Paris from the time James was two until just before his fourth birthday. Before that, I lived in Bangkok, Thailand, and then in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. My years in the tropics had not prepared me for keeping a young child occupied during the cold, dark winter. James’s autism, although still undiagnosed at that point, made finding something to interest him even more challenging. I missed the ubiquitous lizards of West Africa. Chasing them around our large, walled-in yard kept James active and happy for most of his waking hours in the pleasant temperatures year round.
That first winter in Paris, I was hard pressed to find anything so engaging. But one thing captivated James – the street musicians in the Paris Metro stations. So we spent many afternoons riding the rails, following the sounds of music echoing through the tunnels until we found the source. There James would stand, enraptured by whatever music was being played, swaying with the rhythm, sometimes conducting, oblivious to the hectic hoards that otherwise might have made him anxious and agitated.
In time, we became familiar with which musicians would be at which stations. Our favorite was a group from Peru. Their Andean instruments and melodies could keep us enthralled for an hour, happy and warm underground, as bundled up crowds scurried from one train to another or up the escalators to the wintry streets above.
Were any of them famous? I have no idea. But their music haunts my memory of treasured times with James. Such beauty and joy...all for free if we just pause. So generous.
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. ~Lao Tzu
related posts: You Are Here; You Have To Be Present To Win; That Man Might Be Jesus