Music of the Heart Will Not Be Silent
Most of Beethoven's masterpieces were composed while he was deaf. He had inside him music that would not be silenced by life's circumstances. His music triumphed over suffering.
The last movement of the Ninth Symphony is choral music Beethoven set to Friedrich von Schiller's poem "Ode to Joy." Beethoven believed this poem celebrated the brotherhood of man.
On May 7, 1824, when the Ninth Symphony premiered, Beethoven was on-stage conducting. Also on-stage was a supplementary conductor necessary because of Beethoven's deafness.
When the "Ode to Joy" movement was over, the audience erupted in applause. Beethoven did not turn around as he could not hear them.
One of the chorus members broke protocol and moved towards Beethoven. He took hold of the composer's arm. Beethoven gave him a fierce look but the chorus member persisted gently turning him around. By then the applause had subsided.
As Beethoven looked out into the audience, they began to rise one at a time. It was the first time they realized he was totally deaf.
First one person and then another and then another. The standing ovation lasted over three minutes. The applause went on and on and on.
A single, small tear of joy slipped down the composer's cheek. Another tiny companion tear rolled down the cheek of the chorus member standing at his side.
What gift inside of you is so strong that it must triumph over any adversity and come out for others to enjoy?
Are you still holding it in, sapping creative energy by squelching it? What will it take for this ability, this genius, this purpose to flow out of you on a stream of inspiration?
We all have our particular knat with which we can make our world and that of others a more beautiful place. Part of being a member of the brotherhood of man is sharing our gifts with each other.
What music is in you that is struggling to get out?
And one more question. Who are you gently turning around when they facing the wrong direction so they can see the ovation...Even if it is just yours?
We don't have to be Somebody to the World. We can be the World to somebody...
The Empty Box
Even though it was only September, the air was crisp and children were already whispering about Christmas plans and Santa Claus.
It made the already long winter months until Christmas seem even longer. With each passing day the children became more anxious, waiting for the final school bell.
Upon its ringing everyone would run for their coats and go home, everyone except David.
David was a small boy with messy brown hair and tattered clothes. I had often wondered what kind of home life David had.
I often asked myself what kind of mother could send her son to school dressed so inappropriately for the cold winter months, without a coat, boots, or gloves.
But something made David special. It wasn't his intelligence or manners, for they were lacking just as his winter clothes were. But I can never recall looking at David and not seeing a smile.
He was always willing to help and not a day passed that David didn't stay after school to straighten chairs and clean erasers.
We never talked much, he would just simply smile and ask what else he could do, then thank me for letting him stay and slowly head for home.
Weeks passed and the excitement over the coming Christmas grew into restlessness until the last day of school before the holiday break.
I can't recall a more anxious group of children as that final bell rang and they scattered out the door.
I smiled in relief as the last of them hurried out the door. Turning around I saw David quietly standing by my desk.
"Aren't you anxious to get home David?" I asked.
"No," he replied quietly.
Ready to go home myself, I said, "Well, I think the chairs and erasers will wait, why don't you hurry home?"
"I have something for you," he said and pulled from behind his back a small box wrapped in old paper and tied with string.
Handing it to me, he said anxiously, "Open it." I took the box from him, thanked him and slowly unwrapped it.
I lifted the lid and to my surprise saw nothing. I looked at David's smiling face and back into the empty box and said, "The box is nice David, but it's empty."
"Oh no it isn't," said David. "It's full of love. My mum told me before she died that love was something you couldn't see or touch unless you know it's there... can you see it?"
Tears filled my eyes as I looked at the proud little dirty face that I had rarely given attention to. "Yes, David, 'I can see it," I replied. "Thank you."
David and I became good friends after that Christmas and I can say that with the passing years, I never again let his uncombed hair bother me and I never forgot the meaning behind the little empty box that sat on my desk.
For I realized that he filled it day after day, wanting to be around me, offering to help me with anything he could do.
His love wasn't invisible, it was tangible. I could see it. I could feel it. David had no earthy wealth to put in that little box; but what he gave me, no box could hold.
Have a great day!