This caught my attention this morning for a couple of reasons. First, it was on a Facebook post from a former Asst. Principal at my high school. He and I don’t walk in lock-step on some things (both privately and publicly), but I have the same respect for him as a man-more so, in fact-than I did as a boy. And I hope he feels the same about me. See, I firmly believe WE DON’T HAVE TO AGREE ON EVERYTHING TO STILL BE FRIENDS. Which brings me back to this story and his reason for posting it.
“In Washington DC, at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, a man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.
After about four minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule. About four minutes later, the violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.
At six minutes, a young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.
At ten minutes, a three-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent – without exception – forced their children to move on quickly. At forty-five minutes: The musician played continuously. Only six people stopped and listened for a short while. About twenty gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.
After one hour: He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all. No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest 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, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.
This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities. This experiment raised several questions: In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? If so, do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context? One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made…how many other things are we missing as we rush through life?”
-The Love Rabbi-Yisroel Bernath
Now, the second reason this post caught my attention. Let this story be the eye-opener for you that it is for me. How about if, just once a day, if only for a second, each of us stops and appreciates something in our world? It might be something in nature you find beautiful. It might be the security guard at your building-braving the cold-but still doing his/her job with a smile and a kind word for you as well. Whatever. Let 2022 be your year of appreciation. This may be the easiest New Year’s Resolution to keep-ever. We’ll all be better for it.
And that’s something you can hang your hat on.