How she sees the world

It’s the end of the school year and you know what that means?

Concerts and award ceremonies.

Tim and I have been to both this week.

The thing is our high school band can rock a house. Seriously. You should see those piano players — three of them — all guys. They know how to put on a show that, if it were in New Orleans, would have had the crowd tossing beads and dollar bills.

I’ve been going to band concerts for some 30 years, this was the best I’ve ever heard. The thing was these kids loved what they were doing. Loved it. And it showed.

They joyed in what they were doing.  (Why isn’t joy a verb instead of a noun?)

There are several types of bands, of course. There’s the percussion band, the jazz band, the concert band, etc.

The concert band here is audition only. Meaning they don’t take anybody with an instrument. You really have to know how to play it, first.

In that concert band are several people who play the flute. One of them is blind. Completely blind. She can’t see the director.  Can’t see him counting them in, or that ta-da moment when he stops them. She can’t see her fellow band members. Can’t see when they rest their flutes on their laps, or when they pick it back up.

She is totally on her own.

The only possible way for her to know what to do in a concert is by listening.

Her ears are her eyes.

It’s how she sees the world.

What a gift.

To know how to move in synchronicity with each other, how to create something beautiful together simply by listening to and trusting in the one who directs us all.

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  • err..’rejoice” is the verb form of joy.

    I love this piece, Karen. Many of my favorite musicians are/were blind (Ronnie Milsap, Jeff Healey, Stevie Wonder, Terri Gibbs, Ray Charles). I didn’t set out to choose blind singers to be my favorite, but there is something these five bring to each song that is undefinable. You did a good job of explaining it here, though.

  • AFRoger

    It was early June 1968. On one momentous day, I had left Omaha on a United Boeing 727–my very first airplane flight–landed in Des Moines, gone on to Chicago, thence to Newark, NJ. From Newark, I’d made my way by buses to JFK Airport. Finally by evening, I had boarded the queen of the skies, an Air France Boeing 707 Intercontinental bound for Paris. After a tired day in Paris, I would board a train for a 17-hour ride to Vienna, Austria, which was to be my home for a summer study of German language and literature and the culture, cuisine and art of Europe.

    I would live with a host family, visit countless museums, concert halls and churches. I would venture behind the Iorn Curtain three times, encounter the sobering reality of the grounds of a Nazi death camp only 23 years liberated, still see the damage of Allied bombing in Munich, visit with men who had been POW’s in the USA and the USSR. All with the memory of a friend KIA in Kontum a few weeks before, and with the memory of JFK, MLK and RFK still in the forefront of my mind. All this while never having been east of the Mississippi River, west of the Rockies, or south of Kansas in my life.

    With all that awaiting me, the big 707 flew over the North Atlantic overnight, occasionally tipping a wing slightly for a course correction. One of the tracks of recorded music that I listened to over and over included the movement from Carmen. To my dying day, the flutes and strings and harp in this work of Bizet will soar in my mind as a metaphor for the grace of flight and the grace of God in which such stunning heights of creativity and art soar over the equally stunning depths of destruction that is also within human capability and human history.

    Whose loving hands could possibly span that gulf but God’s? And whose mind and eternal Spirit could possibly envision a universe in which the simplest vibrations of air could so clearly embody pure joy? We hear only the smallest portions of it, and it is more than enough. The music says more than we can ever know.