March 31, 2011 § 1 Comment
If it were not for my wife Katherine I would not have recently discovered that our airport in Baltimore (Baltimore-Washington International) plays no music throughout its concourses and terminal. The airport, also known as, Thurgood Marshall International is a major thoroughfare and no slouch among international airports. It is routinely chaotic and crowded, only a stone’s throw from the Nation’s Capital. Families, Military, politicians, tourists, dignitaries, students, airline personnel – you name it – all running, checking baggage, arguing schedules, fighting lines, being TSA’d at any given moment.
But no music…
When I waited tables while in grad school music was central to helping folks think we were busier than we actually were, leaving the impression that the place was hopping, even when barely crawling. For Katherine, an extraordinary musician by education and profession, the void is conspicuous.
It was different though, a few weeks ago. We were traveling to Atlanta where we led a marriage retreat (translation: trying to make sense of 28 years of marriage, out loud, in seven hours with strangers). To our delight, when we walked into the main concourse at BWI we heard music – live music – being performed by the Morgan State University Jazz Band. It was beautiful – and somehow it transformed the chaos of the airport into a lovely amphitheatre. Katherine and I just stopped, stood and listened, and smiled.
This post is offered in the shadow of one of the most horrific natural disasters in human history. So it was heartening to read a CNN report out of Otsuchi, Japan, of children clad in donated clothing, at a local elementary school graduation, singing songs of hope, bringing tears and joy to devastated people whose families were fractured by sorrow and death. A local grandmother can smile, though she has lost her husband of many years. A woman weeps as her child sings knowing that her father was lost in the disaster. One woman, who lost her entire family and possessions, came to hear the children, though she had none at the school. The common bond was loss, but the embrace of sorrow, hope and love, even more compelling. You can see the video here: www.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2011/03/29/lah.japan.graduation.day.cnn?hpt=C2
The temptation would be to praise the human spirit, but we know better, don’t we – we know how fragile we actually are, and how often we want to give up and throw in the towel. No, these are examples of the lovely ways God enters into our weakness and broken world – with sweet offerings that flow from a Father to encourage and remind us that because we are His we are never without hope, nor ever far from His gaze – unfinished as we are and chaotic as our world gets. With David we can sing, O LORD my God, I take refuge in you… (Psalm 7:1).
What Good News.