Sunday, May 27, 2012

I Share With You One Of Those Rare Memorable Experiences

Mormon Tabernacle Choir
I try and limit my postings to a max of one per day, to not be so in peoples face they stop following.

Today is an exception. I need to share this morning with you. I love the El divo hymn, Amazing Grace. I posted it and then left with Kathleen to do a good thing, attend the Sunday Morning broadcast of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

My vote is for doing good things and being in good places. You are likely to be blessed in surprising ways.

This morning was an illustration of that concept for Kathleen and me. We  have been to the Mormon Tabernacle Sunday Broadcast before and always left feeling lifted up. We decided today would  probably be a another good day to attend as they likely would perform a Memorial Day program.

They did. It was stirring. It was even emotional. But the surprise of the day brought Kathleen to tears, and Kathleen doesn't cry.

It began before the broadcast began. We arrived early as we must to be seated, but the building was so full we had to sit near the rear. Our views were somewhat blocked by one of the giant pillars.

To the right we noticed a man who was likely a street person. His hair was greasy and standing up and out in numerous different directions. He looked like he hadn't bathed for months which seemed confirmed by how he kept picking at his ear and his neck, picking off cooties I thought. It had been raining outside and I thought this was a good retreat from the street, warm and dry, with a performance as a reward. 

He seemed out of place among those dressed in nice clothes, even many in suits. I noticed he wore decent shoes and white gym socks, a tattered heavy coat; I was glad he had good shoes.

But it also went through my mind he might be here for the same reason we were, it was Memorial Day and the program was likely to be special.

If I could only describe how special, I'll try.

The choir and orchestra were at their best.  Even  Lloyd Newell, who provides the "Spoken Word" selected an emotional script: "To Fallen Soldiers Let Us Sing". It is a hymn written by Randall Wallace and was performed at President Ronald Reagan's funeral.

The final hymn, The Battle Hymn Of The Republic was thrilling. I know we all felt it, all of us. Toward the end of it I looked left at Kathleen and she was sobbing. It was great, but Kathleen rarely cries, never sobs. Seeing my look she leaned over and said, "look he's standing up and waving at the choir".

Our man from the street was up and waving, was he a veteran? Then it culminated with the answer. Lloyd Newell asked, "in honor of those who served in the armed forces for our" "Freedom", would those of you who served please stand to our thanks and applause?  Like several, our man from the street stood up proudly. There were others around him, like us, who had noticed him and wondered. It was obvious we all now felt an endearing emotion and a gratitude, that we were seated in the back to witness what we witnessed, to feel what we felt, to see him wave proudly in a moment of glory.

This was his moment, more than shelter from the rain, it was brief, but this his warm moment. He was soaking it up and so were we.

Afterwards, many went to him, to clutch his hand, to put their arm around him, and to thank him. As I shook his hand he said, "U S Army", and I felt the real spirit of this Memorial Day, I was the blessed one.

As we walked away from the Tabernacle Kathleen still in tears wondered aloud about what price our soldiers really paid, what happened to him that brought him to the Streets of Salt Lake City?

It doesn't seem enough, but to those like our street friend who served, thank you.

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