|"Flowers" by Dr. Robert O. Fisch|
On an emotional level, the past days I have been overwhelmed with highs and lows.The tragedy that ravaged the people of Japan is a horror I never thought I would see in my lifetime. Comprehending it seems impossible. So silenced was I by the magnitude of this event, I neglected to even reach out to those I knew of that had family living in the country. In fact, those I neglected are a part of my very own family. If not for the compassionate reminder of my sister-in-law, I may still be paralyzed with inaction to this day.
On Monday, after my infusion, my husband and I had the absolute privilege of attending a performance at the Ordway. I generally go straight home and to bed after IVIg because of the side effects. But this night was different. We had been invited by our daughter Casey to see a production entitled Light from the Yellow Star, Remain Humane Even in Inhumane Circumstances. The music was that of Boris Pigovat, entitled Music of Sorrow and Love and was performed by the University of St. Thomas Wind Ensemble. Also featured was the Saint Paul City Ballet and the art and commentary of Dr. Robert O. Fisch, Holocaust survivor. But what made this event most special to us was the featured soloist, my step-daughter Casey.
The evening was comprised of the writings and artwork of Dr. Robert O. Fisch, intertwined with poignantly beautiful music and the intense emotion of the St. Paul Ballet. Throughout each piece Casey's soprano voice swept throughout the theater, caressing the ears of the listener, not unlike that of Sarah Brightman in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Requiem. It was a moment I will never forget.
|Casey Johnson with the UST Symphonic Wind Ensemble|
The narrative, given by Dr. Fisch, was extremely moving. Despite his story of terrible suffering, his message exudes hope and optimism about life. Choosing compassion over bitterness, Dr. Fisch describes his life of service towards others, especially children. His stories and artwork both follow his progression from darkness into light. Transforming his suffering into hope.
Already, still in the midst of unfathomable tragedy, signs of compassion and hope can be seen on the faces of the Japanese people. How this is possible remains the secrete of the human spirit. Transforming our greatest sufferings into opportunities to love, are the miracles of choice. And when this happens, walls fall down, cultural lines are erased and countries are without borders.
As I sat there in the Ordway listening to Casey's voice my heart understood something. Even as the music she sang had no words, only as her hauntingly beautiful "Ahhhhs" filled the air, was it then that I realized the importance of our voices in the midst of suffering. Even if they are but a whisper or a moan. What a loss it would be to this world if Dr.Fisch had chosen to be paralyzed by his experience. If he had been silenced by his suffering. I can not begin to compare my suffering over the past two years with the pain of the people of Japan or the Holocaust. But what I can do is learn from their courage. No matter how small our words may seem, when they are spoken from the depth of our experience they hold incredible healing, not only for ourselves, but for those that hear them.
When I think of why I write this blog to you, it's that very hope. That in our conversations with each other the lines that divide our sufferings can be erased and the common thread of compassion can weave the tapestry that is this life. Beautiful, colorful and real.