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Pay attention, Bach may be in your backyard

A Christian Science perspective.

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As beautiful strains of Bach's "Chaconne" rose from Joshua Bell's Stradivarius in a Washington, D.C., subway station one morning during rush hour, commuters raced by. Considering my own commuting habits, I might have, too. Only a handful stopped to listen. Meanwhile, fans can pay over $100 for a ticket to listen to Mr. Bell perform in a concert hall.

The performance, in which Bell's appearance – but not his playing – was disguised, was an experiment set up by The Washington Post, and Gene Weingarten's story about it, "Pearls before breakfast," won a Pulitzer Prize. Over two years later, that free concert still reminds me how much good is unseen, even when it's right under my nose, or at least in earshot. "Stop and smell the roses" has become a cliché, but this incident made me realize how often I don't.

One way I've found that helps keep my eyes and heart open is to acknowledge the divine presence in any scene. If God is truly infinite, then He is with each of us anywhere, any moment. What that means is that the source of beauty, grace, joy, love, and peace is also with each of us anywhere, any moment. Increased awareness of that divine presence can alert us to the beauty and grace at hand, expressed in a huge variety of ways – a bird singing, a child smiling, a tail wagging. At any moment we can seek out, listen for, and appreciate the beauty and grace that are all around us. It's more challenging to do that when it isn't obvious that something good is going on or at times when everything looks dark. But looking for the light or listening for the joy can be a major turning point.


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