Thursday, July 7

Stop and

I want to share with you all an email that I received from a good friend. Then I’m going to rant a little. :-)


Joshua Bell

In Washington, DC, at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.

About 4 minutes later: 
The violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

At 6 minutes: 
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

At 10 minutes:
A 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent - without exception - forced their children to move on quickly.

At 45 minutes:
The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

After 1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities.


So, here’s the thought…

Are you taking time each and every day to enjoy the world around you?

I think that most of us get so caught up in the trivial matters of the day that we forget to stop and enjoy the life we have. Sure, we notice the flowers, the sunrise or sunset, the beauty of a clear blue sky, but do we actually take the time to take it all in and let it warm our hearts and spirits?

“Time is a companion that goes with us on a journey. It reminds us to cherish each moment, because it will never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we have lived.”

I know that everyone feels they are busy to the point of near exhaustion, but life doesn’t wait. You have to reach out and grab it with both hands, and once you’ve got it, never let it go. Life is something that is beautiful and really, just waiting for you to go explore it.

I talk with a lot of people and everyone is always saying that they “didn’t have time to do that”. I want to reword that particular statement for everyone, because I’m sure that everyone has used it at some point. 

So, here’s my version of it:

“I didn’t MAKE time to do that”

See, how you live your life is all about your priorities and where you choose to place your focus. For me, that’s an easy call. My priorities are (in order of importance):
  1. My son, Caleb
  2. My sons, Chase and Gabriel
  3. My faith and my God
  4. My girl
  5. Everything else :-)
Too often we get caught in that trap of work. You know the one, where you put in 60-80 hours a week, doing your best, trying to make sure you keep your job, telling yourself that you’re working so hard to provide for your family. Guess what? While you’re killing yourself working, you’re only providing your family with money. You are DEpriving them of what they need most…YOU. Even if you don’t have a family to provide for, you’re still doing yourself an injustice simply because you are missing out on the beauty of life.

“Time is what we want most, but... what we use worst.” - William Penn

I had a friend once tell me that she worked 70-80 hours a week because she wanted to be able to enjoy life when she retired. Do me a favor and reread that real quick. :-) Because I asked her a very simple question in response…Why are you going to wait until you retire to enjoy your life?

So, I’ll ask you again…are you taking the time to enjoy your life? Are you happy with the priorities that you have chosen or do you wish you had more time for something else in your life? You only get one life…this one. It’s up to you to make the most of it.

So today, I encourage you to take a long look at your life. Stop and enjoy the amazing world around you. And make some time to stop with me and listen to an incredible subway musician and share in the beauty that is always around us, if you know where to look.