So I was having a rather terrible day a few weeks back and needed a pick-me-up. I remembered something Dr Ballum said in the Creative Arts class I took at USU. He talked about a bad day he had that ended with reading a letter from Ludwig Beethoven to his brother. In the letter he describes what it is like to be a great composer going deaf.
We should all be fairly familiar with the story. At the end of his life Beethoven concluded his compositional career with an unparalleled masterpiece. He composed his final symphony while deaf and incorporated Shiller’s 1785 composition “Ode to Joy.”
Let’s review some of the lyrics in translation:
33 You bow down, millions?
34 Can you sense the Creator, world?
35 Seek him above the starry canopy.
36 Above the stars He must dwell.
37 Joy is called the strong motivation
38 In eternal nature.
39 Joy, joy moves the wheels
40 In the universal time machine.
41 Flowers it calls forth from their buds,
42 Suns from the Firmament,
43 Spheres it moves far out in Space,
44 Where our telescopes cannot reach.
It’s no wonder to me that Beethoven used this poem for the song. It contains such vision and inspiring words! Ode to Joy is about humanity and the joy that is possible for unifying humanity. There seems to be fewer and fewer people each day that are willing to champion the idea of uniting the world. I certainly haven’t seen any of them on the news recently.
Needles to say my bad day was melted away. I was pretending to conduct the greatest symphony ever written while driving in my car belting out German nonsesne at the same time. I must have looked crazy, but I was in love with life. I was being reminded that there is hope for unifying humanity and the great denominator for it happens to be someone I know.
One of the slow-downs to life has been the new road they’re putting on top of the old one. I wouldn’t mind so much, except for the fact that it’s the road I have to drive on to and from home each day. Since the Beethoven incident I’ve changed my perspective about the road a bit. I’ve also recently changed my attitude.
Imagine yourself being out in the sun all day. The weather has added about 10 years to your appearance. Each day unappreciative people drive by you cursing the fact that you’re trying to make a living on their commute. They consider your actions a personal attack on their routine. As they drive by you can see the cartoon thought captions in their facial expressions. “How dare they build this now?” “They’re doing it wrong.” “Please don’t stop me.” “Why do I have to slow down?”
Now imagine after a day like this that someone in a 2002 red, Ford Focus drives up, gets your attention and says “Thank you!”
Why not? It’s a nice new road. It’s better for the car. It’s fun to drive on. It looks good. And the best part—I didn’t have to build it! I certainly should say thanks.
So I’m no Beethoven. I’m no Shiller. But their words and songs mean nothing unless someone puts their message into action. I’ll be the action guy, and who knows. Maybe they’ll see me as their hero. Then I’ll be an Action Hero!