On January 12, 2007 Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world, played some of the most intricate and difficult pieces ever composed on a violin worth $3.5 million. And virtually no one noticed.
The Washington Post article is lengthy one, detailing how it came about, what they were expecting and the actual results.
Just a few days earlier Joshua Bell had performed for a sold out crowd in Boston where people paid $100 for decent seats. And then he performed incognito at the Metro station where he remained virtually unrecognized (only 1 person recognized him!) and earned a paltry $32.17
And here's the quote from the Post article that struck me the most....
There was no ethnic or demographic pattern to distinguish the people who stayed to watch Bell, or the ones who gave money, from that vast majority who hurried on past, unheeding. Whites, blacks and Asians, young and old, men and women, were represented in all three groups. But the behavior of one demographic remained absolutely consistent. Every single time a child walked past, he or she tried to stop and watch. And every single time, a parent scooted the kid away. (emphasis mine)
I see my kids in those kids.
I see myself in those parents.
And it almost makes me weep.
Logic says it should've been different if I was there. Though not a world class musician by any stretch, music has played an integral part in my life and for a few years I was practicing piano for hours every day. I'd like to think I would've noticed the talent. I'd like to think I would've appreciated the extraordinary music being performed in such an ordinary setting. I'd like to think I would've taken the time to stop and enjoy this once in a lifetime opportunity.
But I'm pretty sure that's wishful thinking. Granted, it would depend on the circumstances and whether I was in a hurry to get somewhere. But the truth is, my propensity to procrastinate means I'm almost always in a hurry to get somewhere because I'm always late. So, the odds are rather huge that I would've hurried right past him, dragging my kids behind me despite their appreciation for the magnificent that has not yet been dulled by the me-first, more is better, rush, rush mentality that permeates our culture.
And the sad thing is, in Randy Alcorn's words...
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? (emphasis mine)