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The Reality Of Reality

April 8, 2019

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Before the Internet, humans had several indirect ways to connect: phone, letter, even telegraph. Before that, relayed words from visitors or writings.

But direct contact, the primal way we see, hear, know each other is less and less necessary. We can connect on YouTube, Skype, Xoom, Tweet, Facebook, LinkedIn, SnapChat, Instagram, and on and on and on. All good, no complaints. I use some of these every day. That’s how you are reading this.

I help create concerts for my beloved Trinty Church in New Haven. We have done 13 of them over 3.5 years and the latest was the largest and riskiest. A great group, Chanticleer, came and performed beyond the extreme expectations of all involved. We had 750 people in a place with about that many good seats, and no more.

The music was sublime. There were no errors, no accidents, no freak outs. We raised money for another great place for music, Trinity. All was good, in fact, great.

But those things are not what meant the most to me.

Its the humans that always matter more than the art they see and make.

Before the concert, there was a line to transfer internet receipts to paper tickets. It was at worst a ten minute wait. In that wait an elderly man pulls himself up the stair rails and waits as his spouse gets their tickets. I am the door man, greeting and directing, and he is next to me, swaying side to side.

“Are you OK?” I ask.

”I have trouble standing…” he murmurs.

I immediately usher him in to be seated.

Then at intermission, I make the rounds to make sure all is well, I turn, and where I had put the “HANDICAPPED” sign on an opened double pew that afternoon there was a man in a wheel chair. With monitors, touch pads, the assists that those with more problems than mobility need.

After the concert’s wild applause and encore, as the crowd left, I thanked those who were leaving at the door. A woman and her daughter passed. The daughter had the semi-closed eyes and cocked head of someone who has long been blind, and she carried a cane in one hand and her arm was held by her mother.

Her full toothy grin was explosively happy. She was riding a wave of post concert bliss that crushed me.

Concerts are made by people, but bliss is made by God.

Of course the music was made by hundreds of thousands of hours over 40 years of extreme effort and a dozen dedicated lives of gifted and arduously focused singers. Of course cash was needed for the event to happen, and people built the place it happened 203 years ago, Many others, including me, brought these things together that night.

But none of us made the beauty that compelled people to come.

Those who cannot stand, walk, or see are just us, What their bodies can or can’t do is just my bald spot with extraordinay effect on every waking moment of their lives.

Those messy realities are simply missing from the Internet simulations we all use. The reality of screens prevents the real time physical truth of our common realities.

None is without compromise, but no one is without love, either. The joy of love in the bliss those three people heard was heard by the other 747 there, We all heard it because God gave that bliss to us.

No ticket, no venue, no earning, just love.

Beauty is found in many tiny and huge places. A smile, a breeze, the sun, the embrace of another. And music.

The only reason I, and you, are any different from a plant may be the uncontrollable thrill of beauty becoming real in and to us. There is no reason to it. There is no justification. It’s just a gift from a place we do not, and perhaps cannot, understand.

Those people did not need to be there. But in the end, seeing, standing, walking mean nothing.

Because love abides.

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