when i was choosing seats for the elton john concert in north carolina, the – predictably – least expensive seats were the ones with an obscured view. a pillar, a speaker, a wall…something was in front of the seats, not allowing you to see. or maybe the seats were behind the horizon line of the stage, the apron, making elton basically invisible.
clearly these seats – still dang expensive – weren’t right. i mean, if you can’t see him perform and you can’t really see the jumbotron why not just sit and listen to ej cd’s instead? clearly, that’s not the point.
so i stayed away from the obscured-view-seats and chose seats from which we could see all the action. high up, yes. but we could see it all.
we passed a sign in the chicago botanic garden, posted by a tiny trail. “by screening out views and creating hidden areas, this garden entices you to explore just beyond what you can see.” we couldn’t see into the garden…so we took the little trail in. it was beautiful and a little magical. a little secret garden. not obvious. beyond sight.
the work of an artist – of any medium – is like that. find the places just beyond. find the line of melody that tugs, that urges, that compels. bring those places to others so that they might explore them as well. past the horizon. past the stage. you can still hear elton from the obscured-view seats and you can still feel the energy.
in a thirty-plus year career as a minister of music i always felt that it was my job to introduce the obscured secret garden to others. for faith – regardless of denomination – is that which we cannot see, that which we cannot touch. my mission was simply to open hearts through music to see beyond what you can see, to explore beyond sight. grounding in the most basic of tenets – love, kindness, generosity, peace, embrace of all others, support, truth, fairness, equality, grace – i felt it imperative to offer music that might viscerally touch a person who might not otherwise be touched, to hold it all out there gently so that a soul could easily grasp it, hold it, be wrapped in it, be comforted by it. faith in something bigger in this universe is found in a river of changing times and circumstances and staying steadfast is like the path a leaf takes on that river, both raging whitewater and lazy currents. we open our hearts to explore, even though we cannot see.
it might be time to play my piano again. maybe. it’s been a long time – a couple years now, save for a few moments a few times. i haven’t been able to play it – the magic has been obscured from view – since, well, since i felt blindsided. but now…maybe now…finally…i can see the trail into the studio. maybe now the black and white notes lifting into the air – will heal hurting even just a little, will allow exploration and sight beyond the obvious tangible horizon, will open a heart again.