Create light.

weisellight

Hurricane Harvey has been devastating, and the images showing those hardest hit have been heart-wrenching and dark. But sometimes, in those images, we glimpse the light. Consider this video of a man stopping to play his piano even as the water has nearly reached his piano bench. He brings a bit of beauty, peace, and light to a ravaged reality.

This video calls to mind the orchestra members on the Titanic who, forced with the certainty of imminent death, chose to play until the end so the music would bring comfort and peace to those also remaining on the ship as well as those struggling to reach the life boats:

Many brave things were done that night, but none were more brave than those done by men playing minute after minute as the ship settled quietly lower and lower in the sea. The music they played served alike as their own immortal requiem and their right to be recalled on the scrolls of undying fame.

Or perhaps it recalls the story of Vedran Smailovic who played his cello, in full dress attire, even as Sarajevo was being bombed around him:

As the 155-millimeter howitzer shells whistled down on this crumbling city today, exploding thunderously into buildings all around, a disheveled, stubble-bearded man in formal evening attire unfolded a plastic chair in the middle of Vase Miskina Street. He lifted his cello from its case and began playing Albinoni’s Adagio.

Smailovic did not consider himself a hero: “I am nothing special, I am a musician, I am part of the town. Like everyone else, I do what I can.”

But a hero he was. Adding light and beauty into a dark and dire situation is heroic. It’s counter-culture. It’s inspiring. And it makes the world a brighter place.

How can you create light in your circumstances today?

 

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Making sense of the dark.

kingdomofnight

If anyone could speak to emerging from the kingdom of night, it would be Elie Wiesel. Taken with his parents and sisters to Auschwitz, Wiesel writes of horrors beyond comprehension endured in WWII concentration camps, including the shame he felt in overhearing his father being beaten but being unable to intervene. Orphaned there, he survived and went on to write of his experience and to advocate for the minority or mistreated. He spoke with the authority of the oppressed and illuminated the need for those who witness abuse to not stand silent, but to engage on behalf of that which is right and good:

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”

For those reading about something as horrific as the Nazi treatment of Jews, we have trouble understanding. What makes people hate? How can a nation stand by and tolerate the mistreatment and extermination of its own people?

But as we search the darkness for answer, light emerges. While, yes, there are plenty of villains; there, too, are heroes. People like Wiesel rise up and urge us toward our better natures and give us courage to stand down evil.

As we go through our lives today, we can look for ways to rise up, to speak out against injustice and indifference, to value love over hate, and to hold ourselves accountable to those parts of our souls that are light and good.