This little piece won the Pulitzer Prize this year for Feature Writing. The writer conspired with world-class violinist Joshua Bell to play for an hour in the DC subway on his $3.5 million Stradivarius, and then documented the results. It’s a bit long, but well worth a read. If you don’t have time now, print it out and then read it in the bathroom when you have more time.
For me, it serves as a reminder to be aware of the world around me. I work right on the waterfront in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Even on cloudy, rainy days, the view is fantastic, and on clear nights the sunsets are breathtaking [note: not my pics]. But too often, I walk past the windows, smell the salt air outside, and don’t think about how blessed I am — to live here, to have such a wonderful family, to know a God who loves me.
Conversely, too often I am oblivious to the needs of others around me. I get cranky, self-absorbed, tired, sore, busy, short-tempered with my children, distant from my wife, I don’t touch the world around me and I am not touched. It’s no way to live in Christ, and no way to be a husband/brother/father/son/friend. For those of you whom I ignore too regularly, I ask your forgiveness. I’m trying to be a better man . . .
And such work begins simply by being aware. Aware of the beauty around me — not just in nature, but in the people I encounter each day. Aware of the needs of those around me. Aware of the beauty inside me.
I wonder — if I had been in the DC subway that day, would I have noticed the music?
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
–St. Francis of Assisi