For 2018

"Life is lived forward, but understood backward. It is not until we are down the road and we stand on the mountain looking back through the valley that we can appreciate the terrain God has allowed us to scale.” Jill Savage

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

To be busy or not to be busy - that is the question . . .

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

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. 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 and the seats average $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people.

The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

To be busy or not to be busy? That is the question. Can you be too busy? How much busyness is enough? When does it become too much?

Sometimes busyness is a choice, sometimes it's not - life insists on it sometimes and you have no choice. Busyness can be painful at times. Other times being busy can save you - from boredom, sadness, depression, facing reality - when used as a defense mechanism.

I used to be 'busy' all the time - especially when the kids and I were younger (sad but true). For me - I feel I have matured (Lol)! I stop now and I 'look' - a lot. I also keep busy and not with just busy work - I try to put some time in my life for fun. I think I have a good blend going on. I believe this is one thing I have a handle on . . .

Oops - or I did - the world is constantly changing and we have to be able to adapt - and my life and my busyness factor is going to change. Change is an unknown. Change makes one fearful. So once again - I'm going to have to do some 'soul' work - if you know what I mean. . . .

There is a time to be busy and a time to be not busy - the real issue is figuring out a happy medium. I found through error that the answer isn't black or white - it is in the middle - gray.



Changes in the wind said...

I wonder if the moral of this story is that we only think something is good if we are told that it is and that we should pay a lot of money to enjoy it???

Chatty Crone said...

That's true - something to think about.

^..^ Corgi Dog Mama ^..^ said...

Oh, that thinking cap of yours is back on, isn't it? Such deep thoughts for a Tuesday morning. ( It IS Tuesday, right?) Personally, I can't imagine, not stopping to hear Bach being played on a violin, whether in a busy subway or not...but, I've only been in a subway several times in my life, and while on a trip, so I would have had the time to stop and listen. This could be said for taking the time to see something beautiful, like the soar of a hawk on an updraft...or a double rainbow, or a glimpse of a hummingbird darting from blossom to bloom in a back yard. God gives us moments of beauty all the time, but we have to be open and still enough to see them. There, lies the rub for most of us. Gifts are offered, but we must be aware.

Chatty Crone said...

Again, it all comes back to 'our own choice'.

JeanMac said...

People must have been stunned when they read the story later. Very interesting.

Buddha said...

To me to be busy is not a choice is a curse.
Oh how I would love to have the time to stop and smell the roses!
I see my daughters growing up under my nose and I wish I could stop the time, but I can’t.
Time is a thief!

Chatty Crone said...


If the people did hear the story later - the question is - did they choose to change? Did it make a difference?

Chatty Crone said...


Personally I agree with you - to bad I didn't know it until later on in life, but at least I know it now. I'm trying to slow down as much as possible to smell the roses. I don't always, but I do try.
I do think though there are some times busyness is a good thing. . . it's very protective.