Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Practice peace, bring hope

Do you remember the cellist of Sarajevo? Or perhaps you've never heard the story of Vedran Smailovic?

Smailovic lived near a bakery in Sarajevo during the Bosnian War. In May of 1992 that bakery, one of few that still had flour and distributed bread to the war-weary and starving people, was shelled as people waited in line for bread; and 22 people were killed. That incident pushed the then-35-year-old Smailovic past his limits. Already he had seen and heard too much carnage and violence. Because he had been a cellist with the Sarajevo Opera (and longed to return to his beloved career), he did what obviously took him to another place inside and what brought hope and courage to those who heard him: Every day for the next 22 days, he put on his concert attire, walked into the raging battle all around him, set up a chair and played his cello in memory of the 22 people who had been killed outside his window that day. He played Albinoni's "Adagio in G Minor," which if you know it, is beautiful but haunting.

He put his life at risk each time he sat in the street playing his cello. Somehow he was never hurt (physically, at least!). But he brought courage and hope to those who huddled in fear nearby—and to those of us who have heard his story in the years since then.

What do you do in the face of pain—yours or others? Perhaps you visit people in care centers. Or you send cards and notes of encouragement to people facing unimaginable illness or problems. Where you see fear, perhaps you do your best to bring peace and serenity—even when that fear is inside you, too.

You don't have to sit in a street with a cello as war rages all around you in order to bring hope or peace. You can find whatever ways fit your life situation and bring forth your gifts. Just know that in this crazy-busy and sometimes frightening world in which we live, myriad opportunities exist for you.

1 comment:

  1. What a remarkable story! Such examples are truly inspiring and remind us that we as individuals CAN make a difference in others' lives.