Have a Whitney Houston Wake-Up

I don’t know about you, but I had a countdown clock going for Part 1 of Whitney Houston’s interview on Oprah yesterday.

"I wanted that moment." (Image: Oprah.com)

"I wanted that moment." (Image: Oprah.com)

And aside from the more shocking things in the interview—the sad scratch of her voice, her revelations about how she lost herself in her relationship with Bobby Brown—there was one thing Whitney said that really moved me. It was when she talked about how her fame had stolen something from her that she wanted to be able to get back: the simple moments in life that so many of us forget to appreciate. Here is what Whitney said:

“My daughter was growing up before my eyes, and I just wanted to grab hold of that. Oh my gosh, it goes by so fast. And I wanted to watch her. I wanted to be the parent . . . and watch her go to school and when she got home, be there. Be up in the morning and say, “Honey, it’s time to get up!” and when she’d come home, “Hi.” I wanted that moment.”

It made me think about how many simple moments we’re given every day, and how often we tune in to appreciate them. Are you taking in all the simple moments of joy with your family? Are you enjoying the fun of dating? Are you appreciating the bonus of getting to know a really nice or smart or fascinating person you wouldn’t have met otherwise? Many of us get so focused on the prize that we miss the simple small things that are right in front of us—perhaps even a gift we might get on your way to work.

There’s a story you may have read about a violinist who played in the Washington D.C. metro station for 45 minutes and didn’t get much attention at all. My mother forwarded me a chain-style email-edited version of it the other day, which I’ve edited it a bit further. It’s a wonderful story about appreciating what is around us:

A man sat at a metro station in Washington, D.C. and started to play the violin. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

In the forty-five minutes the musician played, only six people stopped. The one who paid the most attention was a 3-year-old boy who stopped to look at the violinist. His mother hurried him on, but as the child continued to walk, he was turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents forced them to move on.

About twenty gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing, no one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars. Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston where the seats average $100.00 each.

Missing the music     (Image: From TheWashingtonPost.com)

Missing the music (Image: From TheWashingtonPost.com)

Joshua Bell was playing as part of a social experiment organized by The Washingon Post in a piece by Gene Weingarten called “Pearls Before Breakfast.” Weingarten won a Pulitzer Prize for the piece. The message behind the piece is this, which the writer asks in the final paragraphs: “If we can’t take the time out of our lives to stay a moment and listen to one of the best musicians on Earth play some of the best music ever written; if the surge of modern life so overpowers us that we are deaf and blind to something like that — then what else are we missing?”

It’s a powerful question and worth answering. Today, try to give attention to the beauty around you. To the great music, good people, kind gestures. Tune into those simple pleasures of dating, of the exciting seconds before you walk into the coffee shop, of the awkward laughter when someone spills a drink, of the tingling anticipation when you wonder if they’ll call you tomorrow. They may seem like throwaway moments now, but someday you may look back and say, like Whitney Houston did, I wanted that moment. Take it all in now. You’ll be so glad you did.

Big love,

Amy Signature 4