I was watching Youtube tonight, listening to “Fiddler on the Roof” and some “modern” sacred music as well. It was a welcome respite from the noisy backdrop of political lambaste, rumors on the internet about various government conspiracies, violence, calamity, and the turmoil of our world. Therefore, I turn to music. Not just any music, but a sound for the mood, be it Mozart or Sleater-Kinney. I have my moments when both will suffice.
But the songs tonight reminded me that there is beauty in the world. Maybe not that anyone can see right now, but it’s there, like the stars in the day time. You can’t see them, but they are there. There are a lot of voices drowning out this beauty. Loud, obnoxious voices filled with hate and anger. I have been one of these voices recently. I have been angry at times. But I am grateful for the peace I get when I can get it.
You don’t have to be particularly religious to appreciate sacred music. But I grew up with these tunes, so I am comforted in the sounds, the colors, if you will, of the choral ensemble.
There is a good Arabic proverb that says, essentially, “if the next thing you say is not more beautiful than silence, be still.” I wish most of the world would be guided by this principle. But sometimes we could use a little ugliness. Besides, one’s perception of beauty could be wildly different from the next. I mention Sleater-Kinney again, because I find beauty in the piercing vocals of Carrie Brownstein. Some might find it offensive. There’s no accounting for taste.
Find something beautiful that will bring you joy. It’s more difficult than you think. Turning off the world requires a lot of strength. Gather it up. The world will still be there when you get back. Be careful not to allow the turmoil creep into your state of bliss. Somehow, I find moments when I can really, truly cut myself off, as it were (since I am browsing Youtube, and anything can pop up next.) But it’s amazing when I get in the right groove. I guess it’s like when a surfer picks up the perfect wave she’s been waiting for all morning. Or so I’m told.
I am fortunate that I also get to create. I get to contribute to the beauty of the world. I don’t get to spend as much time as I’d like producing art and music, photos and so forth. I suppose I could spend less time on Youtube. My day job is technical and does not allow for much in the way of creativity. But I have to produce documentation, so I tend embellish a bit.
It’s good when you have the opportunity to escape. It’s my wish that everyone has the chance to take a break and experience some real beauty, especially during this season where the nights are long, and the wind is cold. I like to watch the skies when it’s clear. Winter skies are good for stargazing. Others like a good book. The human experience demands so much from us. We have the right to step back and take a breath. It could change the world for the better. I hope it does.