Let me start by saying, I’m probably going to take some heat for this. Over this past weekend my wife and I headed up to New York City to see a play. What play it was isn’t important to this story, but for anyone interested it was “Betrayal”, and it was excellent. Art should move the soul of a person, and that’s what I wanted to experience. That’s why we made the journey. That’s why we spent the money. I have met many people who wonder about our investing in a night at the theater, or the orchestra, or at an exhibit. I have heard from people I care about that they just don’t like musical theater, or museums, or concerts. When I ask why, there are relentless excuses that make perfect sense. “I heard the orchestra play at my son’s high school last year.” “I’ve been to the Philadelphia Art Museum on a school trip in tenth grade and it was boring.” “I’ve already seen Les Mis when it was at the movies.” All good points to avoid the experience, except…
That isn’t what it’s about.
I was a music major in college and performed with many orchestras not only locally but at various locations around the world. I got paid, I was a professional. I was good, maybe very good, but not great. When I attend a symphony, I want to be wowed. I want to feel passion ooze from the violins, regal descants blaze from the trumpets, faint cries of sorrow from an oboe. I want to be moved. I want to have my whole body tingling with melodies weaving around the concert hall whispering joy in my ears.
I've visited museums; I was bored out of my mind. Then I saw Michelangelo’s sculpture. I wept. I saw divine work through the hands of a man. Seeing the Pieta in the Vatican was life changing. The flowing robes draped over Mary’s body appeared almost weightless while the impressions of her hands in her Son’s flesh depicted the weight and burden she lifted.
I’ve seen lots of movies. I’m a big fan, but it’s not the same. To see another human being, just feet away, fly into a terrifying rage, scream at God, curse the world and vow revenge against injustice, stirs something deep inside me. (I’m thinking Sweeny Todd here) It’s deeply moving to look into the eyes of a man facing despair as everything he believes crumbles around him, Like Javert when Valjean lets him live in Les Miserables. It kindles emotions to watch a young GI fall in love with a girl on the other side of the world in the middle of a war, to behold the tenderness in their eyes, their touch, their kiss. (Miss Saigon)
Who doesn’t want these things in their life? I certainly do. To me, that’s a big part of what life truly is. So I’ll keep going, to be inspired, awed, enlivened, and enlightened.