Monday, December 6, 2010

It Came Upon A Midnight Clear

Today on the D.C. metro train…this Asian man, probably seventy years old boarded my less than crowded car and from a hymnal, began singing A cappella, this Christmas hymn. He remained standing and was nervous and his voice cracked a little bit but he did a beautiful job and then he sat down. It was beautiful and brave and I know in my heart that it was his way of witnessing his love of God and I also know that he was scared. But the kindness of his intent was so powerful that not one person on the train heckled him. The next stop was mine and I walked over and touched him and told him how beautiful his gesture was. It was lovely and I was glad that I had my sunglasses on because by the time I got to the sidewalk I wept.

Onward. ADG, II

28 comments:

Mrs. Blandings said...

That is my favorite Christmas song. Aren't you glad you recognized him?

CeceliaMc said...

The world in solemn stillness lay,
to hear the angels sing.

Chuck Hatt said...

Having the grace to weep when touched by a sincere gesture or human vulnerability is sometimes referred to has "having a heart of flesh". Would that we all moved through life with the ability to weep, laugh, give generously, or fight for the weak and unprotected whenever it was the right and appropriate thing to do. Thanks for giving me this story to start my day ADG.

ADG said...

Mrs. Blandings...yes, I'm glad for all of it. I think it was Gods way of letting me know that having a new pair of green shoes isn't all the "shit" that it's purported to be. Kinda like the temporal unguent that a fresh coat of white paint or a slipcover provides for otherwise worn and tattered veneers. It's good but there's better...and for me...this guy represented the simple power of what's "better."

Cecelia...this can't be you. (Love, ADG)

Chuck Hatt...you nailed it. Better actually, than I did.

Barry said...

What a fantastic entry....Merry Christmas ADG.

Barry B.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a brave man. What a simple but profound act. God bless him for his courage and faith and God bless you for expressing your gratitude to him. It moves me just to think of how difficult it must have been for him to do that - wonderful.

Thad said...

That is the wonder of living in such an area as we do (and, believe it or not, I think that I have spotted you around town), where the masses of humanity heave and we can be lucky to see the best it can offer!

Glad that you shared your experience. Happy Holidays!

Patsy said...

Every once in a while, I witness something on my commute that makes me realize people are a LOT better than I give them credit for. Thank you for sharing your moment of joy.

Anonymous said...

Maximinimus,

Chuck Hatt hit the nail on the head above. You are gifted at seeing the good in people and things.

I live in DC and have seen the same man sing on the Metro before. My coal-black heart was just slightly uncomfortable by his public display. I am going to re-think that now.

Thanks for making me think. Merry Christmas.

Kathy said...

Have you seen any of the flashmob videos on Youtube? A capella choirs performing seemingly spur of the moment at crowded shopping malls, or at the airport. I'm such a sap-- I cry at them all.

Nah said...

Such a simple thing that has the power to shake the earth...

How utterly, indescribably good.

JMW said...

How wonderful and touching.

Mal said...

ADG-I have to agree with Anon comments, what a simple yet profound act. We hear it said all the time that not all gifts come beautifully wrapped and that moment was truly a gift. Don't beat yourself up over the loafers, you work hard and that is a gift to yourself. Besides, anyone that follows your blog knows you have awareness of the troubles of this world and a conscience for doing the right thing. Christmas is many things but it also allows for introspection and taking stock of who we are and what we need to be..as President Lincoln wrote, to follow "the better angels of our nature."
Merry Christmas-

James said...

Awe inspiring to say the least. His message and your gesture are both major karma.

LPC said...

Well LFG is a lucky gal. If we can't cry at those kinds of things, just because we're moved, everything else will likely be slow going.

Flo said...

"His message and your gesture are both major karma."

And with all these wonderful comments posted above, the karma loop widens. Dominique posted a TED vid on Slow Love recently, long story short: the heroes we humans seek are already out there on the street, they're everywhere doing unimagineably warm and generous things for humanity, our job is to notice. Mr. Minimus has given us a tutorial on how to pay attention to a hero on the ground. Thank you, Mr. GreenShoes!

yoga teacher said...

The late, brilliant John O'Donohue said "Now and again you should offer the warmth of your love as a blessing. . .when you send that love out from the bountifulness of your own love, it reaches other people. This love is the deepest power of prayer." It sounds like you both did that.

Main Line Sportsman said...

You old softy....
Last Friday at dinner some carolers came into the restaurant where my wife and I were dining and belted out "God rest Ye..."...it was nice....didn't tear up though....

Scott said...

One of that guy is worth half the evangelicals in my county. I had a similar but slightly more straightforward experience today, complete with a similar reaction. Thanks for passing your experience along.

Scott

SouthernProletariat said...

He who has ears to hear, let him hear....

Tammy B said...

This post made my day. I had to share it with a coworker who was having a bad day. It lifted her spirits. Merry Christmas!

Preppy 101 said...

What a great moment for both you and him. xoxo

ADG said...

Thanks everyone, for sharing my sentiments...at least for the most part. I did have to decline posting a couple of flaming comments but hey, that's ok.

I promise to now return to the temporal and superficial...the transient and attenuated topics and issues that I'm better known for.

Cheers from the scrub pines and flatlands of South Georgia (actually Jacksonville Florida)...we ain't in Santa Monica no moe...that's for certain.

Flo said...

Oooo J-action-ville, hope you packed some woolies, we're having hard freezes in these parts all week. Can't imagine you being in the Bold New City of the South without passing thru St.A outlet mecca, a handful of really good ones there. Husband and I are headed to St.A Friday for graduation ceremonies, he's getting his doctorate at the PT school there, so proud am I [but we won't talk about the zany madcap somuchfun healthcare system of late]. I'll just look up in the sky for a dayglo star, maybe you'll be on the ground below.

Kathie Truitt said...

I love you, ADG. Really, I do.

Gretchen said...

In a snarky way, this was your reward for putting up with the regular Metro garbage, sir. But, in a humanity way, this is your reward for being a fabulous father, an asset to your employees and clients, and a beacon of fuzzy dicedom and pithy reads for the rest of us in your sphere of influence. Merci, merci beaucoup. And I'm certain that your gentle touch made HIM feel just as warm and rewarded as you felt from his carol. Thanks for bringing a bit of light in an otherwise meh day!

ADG said...

Thanks again all, for what after a few days of reflection, hasn't dimmed one bit my deeply visceral action to this God-incident.I thought about it again, walking home from the train last night. What continues to "get me" about this is the bravery demonstrated through such a simple, brief and pure gesture.

Onward. ADG

The Preppy Princess said...

While behind the curve in getting here (to the post), the reward is better than promised. God love the both of you, for your gesture had to mean as much to him as the singing of the song did to you.

With gratitude for your sharing of the story,
tp

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