Every Act

Everything you do counts forever

I don’t know who said this but I’m glad they did.  I’m imagining the building of a gorgeous temple – stone by stone, wooden beam by wooden beam, stained glass by stained glass.  This edifice is in my hands.  Every kind act from me adds a bit and every meanness or distancing takes something away.  There’s a worldwide village under construction, about 4.5 billion homes.  Will we create a city of light or a ghost town?

When I was 18, I asked a girl out on a date.  We arranged to meet on the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto.  At the appointed time, I didn’t show up.  Years later, while I was on yard duty at school, a young girl cut herself badly.  I applied pressure and love until the ambulance came.  What if those two moments are just as alive today as they were when they happened?  What if the entire world still vibrates with that fear and kindness?

If that’s true, do I become hypervigilant, walking through life looking over my shoulder to see who’s watching?  Do I tighten, immersed in the fear of doing something wrong?  Do I roam around trying to find opportunities to be good to people?  I say no to all of that.  There’s a flow in the universe that I can launch my raft into.  Natural moments will draw natural responses from me.  May there be far more of building up than tearing down.

At the end of this lifetime, I hope to gaze out on shining streets from the window of my sweet sanctuary.  Until then, I act, again and again, trusting in the person I have become so far.  For, in a Christian context, which is as fine as any other …

Let us build the city of God
May our tears be turned into dancing!
For the Lord, our light and our love
Has turned the night into day!

Staying Put

I went to a concert yesterday afternoon.  Yuja Wang is a world-renowned pianist from China.  At the tender age of 31, she wows audiences all over the world.

I was not wowed.  Yuja played pieces from composers such as Rachmaninoff and Prokofief.  What all these works had in common was … no melody.  Just a whole bunch of notes flurried together in a variety of ways.  I soon found myself close to nodding off, which isn’t the coolest thing to do in a fancy concert hall.

My heart wasn’t in it, not at all.  Yuja’s technique was astonishing.  All those runs at the speed of light!  But in my oh so biased mind … “So what?”  I want to be touched by life and the fine human beings who populate it.  I want an ecstatic “Oh!” to escape my mouth.  My eyes were closing, all right, but not for the best of reasons.

Yuja was very pretty and wore a stunning yellow gown.  From my vantage point, I could see her legs, her feet and the top of her head (occasionally her soft eyes).  The rest, including those flying fingers, was hidden behind the grand piano.  Her glowing dress and pumping feet didn’t do much to send the wearies away.

There were folks sitting on the stage.  From my spot in the front row, I could look under the piano and see them, from the neck down.  And I zoomed in on one couple.  They saved me from unconsciousness.  Throughout the concert, they held hands, in various configurations.  My favourite was when she was rubbing her foot against his calf.  So sweet.  This is the human contact I so desire, whether in physical touch, the meeting of the eyes, or the soaring expression of music.  I watched them a lot.  And then it was intermission.

I talked to the woman next to me about my troubles.  She knew exactly what I was talking about.  And then Yuja reappeared, this time wearing a short emerald dress that sparkled in the lights.  So sexy!  My neighbour leaned over and said “This should help.”  I smiled.

So I got to see gorgeous legs in the second half.  And got to hear no melodies.  (Sigh)  At the end, I was surrounded by wild cheering and rising bodies.  Not me.  I was not moved and so I didn’t move.  I applaud Yuja’s brilliance but she didn’t reach me.

I turned to my new friend and said “The legs didn’t really help.”  She laughed.