About five years ago, The Washington Post conducted an experiment. They convinced Joshua Bell, one of the world’s greatest violinists, to play at a Washington D.C. Metro Station. He stood against the wall at the top of the escalator and played for 45 minutes during the morning rush hour.
There was a concern that he would be recognized and cause problems. Those worries were unfounded. As he played some of the most exquisite music ever written on a 1713 Stradivarius violin, more than 1,000 people passed by. Only a handful stopped to listen. Only one recognized the young virtuoso. Bell made just over $32, much of it in change.
Now, it’s hard to fault people hurrying to meetings or jobs or appointments where being late can be costly. They weren’t in any way prepared to be confronted by such beauty. But isn’t that the problem right there? We walk through life unprepared for beauty. We slow down on the interstate to rubber neck at accidents, but we don’t stop to gawk at the gorgeous.
We rush by sunsets and sunrises. We skip the beauty of a child laughing. We hurry through conversations with people we may never see again. We whiz by miracles without registering them.
We have to stop tripping over the gifts God lays at our feet. It’s time we stopped to pick them up.