Lory and I drove to Cleveland this past weekend for Carlyn’s senior recital at Cleveland Institute of Music. She played Beethoven’s Sonata No. 5, Schumann’s Fantasiestucke and Prokofiev’s Sonata in C Major – and she was wonderful…and we were appropriately proud, and very relieved!
Carlyn will graduate next month, but she will stay on for two more years for graduate studies. She got the cello teacher she wanted; she’s pleased, and so are we. Lory grew up in the Cleveland area, so it’s familiar territory.
During the intermission at the recital we heard the news that the second Boston bomber was captured, and later we watched on television as people from all over the city celebrated their freedom, coming out of their homes and apartments after the lock down. I have no recollection of any city being ‘in lockdown,’ so this was a first…for me, at least.
On Friday I will be traveling to Boston with our Coming of Age class – it’s our annual trip and it begins at Arlington Street Church, just yards away from where the first explosive devise was detonated near the finish line.
We live in violent times. The Senate’s failure to address the gun-control issue hit hard. I just don’t get it. Background checks on anyone who wants to buy a gun seems so obvious; a ban on assault weapons is not a violation of the second amendment. Assault weapons are essentially weapons of war, yet our law-makers fail to pay attention to that part of the second amendment that talks about the need for a ‘well-regulated militia.’
The lack of control of guns is a form of madness. It’s an offense to what we call civilization.
I experienced the stark contrast between watching and listening to Carlyn’s rendering of Beethoven, Schumann and Prokofiev on a finely crafted and well-tuned instrument, made with skill and sensitivity, then watching and listening to the news reports of the home-made bombs in Boston. I felt as if I had been assaulted.
I thought of religion, at its best – the human spirit, acknowledged and nurtured. But religion at its worst too often contributes to hatred and the violence that flows from it…in the name of some twisted idea of God. Religion can be dangerous. We humans are capable of the highest arts, expressing the front line of evolutionary development, and we are capable of the most heinous acts of cruelty.
My awareness is heightened as I move closer to the finish line of my ministry. While I know the race hasn’t been in vain, I wonder if our human race will ever be any different. Certainly we have made progress with regard to racism, sexism and homophobia, but even these areas have a long way to go. Unitarian minister Edward Everett Hale reminds us: “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”