Tuesday, June 26, 2018

"If you want to be happy, be." — Leo Tolstoy

                   While I was sick, I wasn't able to do anything but lie on my side and hurt.  However, it wasn't all bad.  My oldest son gave me an iPad mini a few years ago, and my middle son has it hooked up to the internet.  So, I was able to watch YouTube videos on a tiny screen to take my mind off my suffering.  Some videos helped and some didn't.  What I did discover is that there is a treasure trove of uplifting videos out there if you know where to look.  John and I were talking the other day, and John said there were too many unexpected explosions of pain and suffering and death.  He said what we needed were more unexpected explosions of joy and music and dance.  Guess what?  There are.  I'm giving you a real gift today if you have a smartphone or a tablet or a laptop computer handy.  For many years now, there have been these things called "flash mobs" where huge groups of people get together in public places and surprise all the others there by breaking out into song and/or dance.  These then spread to marriage proposals, anniversaries, random acts of culture like opera, welcoming home someone from the military—all kinds of things.  I started watching some . . . and was transfixed and transformed and transported away from my suffering.  The ones I saw made me smile, made me cry from joy, and gave me new hope for all of us.  I'll give you links to three special ones at the bottom, but you can find your own.  Just go to YouTube and search for "flash mob: classical music" or "flash mob: children" or "flash mob: opera" or flash mob: pop tunes" or Christian, Christmas, Disney, dance, or name a musical, like "Les Miserables."  I have a number of favorites, but you may not share my likes.  I love one that is really an ad for a bank but is based on Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and have offered that one before (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBaHPND2QJg).  There are so many that you could not live long enough to watch them all.  Most are just three or four minutes long and could be watched while waiting for the doctor, in line at the bank, or anywhere you have to wait and could use a bit of joy.  The three I am offering below total about ten minutes in all, so you could watch all three during some commercial breaks on your television.  We all need to have hope.  We all need to know that we are not alone.  We all need to be reminded of the the great talents that gone before and those that are with us still.  Mr. Rogers used to always stress that in times of tragedy, you should look to the helpers for strength and hope.  I'm giving you some insight here that could change the way you live every day by watching these flash mobs on YouTube and looking for the smiles.  The smiles on the faces of the performers and the smiles on those watching who were elevated by what they saw and heard.  Just try counting the smiles as you watch these and see if you are not lightened and lifted.  The boy in the picture at the right is a little local joy.  Some of the participants exhibit wild joy and happiness, and some of the watchers get infected with it and can't help but smile, and sometimes sing and dance along.
         The first one I'm offering you is from Paris, France, and made me smile and cry.  In this one, look not only for the smiles, but also for the ages of the performers.  My favorite is the little drummer girl with the cool hair.  

         The second one I'm offering is from Antwerp, Belgium.  (There are many from the U.S., but I wanted to emphasize the universal nature of this joy in music and dance).  The one in Antwerp uses an English song from a Broadway musical, but the way it is presented will fill your heart with joy—I promise.

        The third one is not for everyone, but if you have seen or heard "Les Miserables" then this one from Poland, sung entirely in Polish will convince you that the words don't matter nearly as much as the passion.  If you like "Les Miserables," this may become a favorite of yours as it is mine, but again, it is not for everyone.

         Some of the flash mob marriage proposals just blew me away.  I'm kinda glad Karen didn't see them, so she couldn't compare them to my mumbling (I'd just had oral surgery)  "Muudd yuuu mmmaaarrry meee?"  We were in a car in the parking lot of the Abilene, Texas, airport and she was driving me back to my dorm at the college.  There was no flash mob, but she said yes, anyway, and that lasted for over fifty-three years.  When you are watching these and counting smiles, don’t forget to count yours.  I dare you to watch these and not feel better.  If you don’t, then you are among those for whom the rest of us pray.  I suspect that all will experience some joy.  You’re welcome.

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