Monday, December 20, 2010


I'd like to pass along a tale to you, one that is fitting for this Holiday season and for any other season, for that matter. It's not my message, it's the Washington Post's.  I'm hoping this has an impact, providing you stop and look and listen to what is going on in the world.  That begins with being a little more aware, a little more open and a little more receptive to our daily functions.  The story takes place at a Metro Station in Washington, D.C. on a cold, January morning in 2007......

 "A 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-age 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 FOUR MINUTES LATER: The violinist received his first dollar.  A woman threw money in the hat and without stopping, continued to walk. 
AT SIX 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-with 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 and awareness".

I would like to think I would've seen and heard something here.  That I would have stopped and appreciated the beauty of the musician and the piece, not to mention the violin ($3.5 million!!).  How often do we pass by art, music and images every day without a thought to their importance?  Do you see the big picture....are you "open" to the messages, the circumstances and the people that God is placing in your life?  

In Chuck Larson's book, "Heroes Among Us", there are 29 short stories detailing some of our nation's highest decorated soldiers from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.  Each of  these soldiers displayed courage, honor, loyalty and sacrifice in earning our nation's highest military honors. When you read their words, there is no mention of heroism.....and there is no mention of being the "one" to do it all.  

First Sergeant Kasal being helped out of house where his bravery took place 

First Sergeant Brad Kasal, of Afton, Iowa is one Larson's favorite stories in the book.  Kasal, who has spent over  half of his forty years of life in the military was awarded the Navy Cross for saving the life of a fellow marine in Operation Phantom Fury.  His actions led to his citing for bravery...yet in his words, "I did what I had to do, because it was the right thing to do".  Kasal was wounded that day yet that didn't halt his willingness to serve.  In recent years, Kasal was promoted to Sergeant Major and  became a recruiter at a Marine recruiting station in Iowa.  Would you know, could you tell what Sergeant Major Kasal had done for us if you were to meet him?  He is living among us...and he is a treasure to say the least.  

Larson confided that most of the soldiers interviewed for this book came from a deep walk of faith. Most were able to use the moment they were ln to make a difference yet most were able to evolve and move forward from that day.  And most are still serving you and I in some shape or manner, moving among us, continuing to help keep us safe and secure.

 I'm not going to detail the book for you, I think you'd be better served to pick up a copy and read it yourself.  I will tell you that a book of this nature, can and will help open your eyes to what's around you.  It might just cause you to stop and look and wonder if that military person that walked past you, that opened the door for you, that is saying goodbye to family at the airport as he redeploys is something out of the ordinary.  More than likely, he is, because more than likely, he did the right thing....and he is proof that there are indeed "Heroes Among Us".   

There are fewer than 500 servicemen that have received the Silver Star, the Navy Cross, Distinguished Service Cross, Air Force Cross or Medal of Honor since 2002.  There are many, many more that haven't received any of these awards for their actions.  They are humble in their work, proud in their dedication...and they are living among us.  Now can you see them?         



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