Earlier today I posted most of this post as a comment in response to blog written by Dan Kreider about how we are losing the ability to truly listen. Please read the original article here because it is wonderfully written and expresses some truly valuable ideas. I want to express again my appreciation for this pertinent reminder to savor the ability to listen for the blessing it truly is.Mr. Kreider’s blog also prompted me to share a personal illustration that happened to me 5 days ago, when a group of about 16 music lovers was gathered at a friend’s home. We are a collection of pianists, some professionals but most amateur practitioners, who gather once each month to play for each other and enjoy musical conversation. Our host chose to finish the performance time with a rendition of the Liszt Sonata and it was a deeply personal reading of a transcendent musical work. When George had finished playing, I was astonished to notice that the woman sitting on my right was overcome by the music to the point of tears. Another friend on my left was also visibly touched and moved by the music he had just heard. After the applause died away both of my companions confessed that they had never heard this music played “live” before and that they were overcome by the experience.
As I took this all in I was humbled to realize that while I had been “listening” to the performance after a fashion, but I had not had the deep immersion experience that these friends had just enjoyed. I expect that some days are just better than others, and there are times when we are more tuned in to deeper meanings of the music around us. Still, I think that we forfeit so much when we assume an air of entitlement or “taking it for granted” when listening to the amazing wealth of timeless music that is so readily available to us each day. I continue to be grateful for this “wake-up call” to choose to listen deeply when we have opportunity.