Well, it’s safe to say that my last post struck a nerve…
In all seriousness, thank you to everyone who left a comment and shared the post on social media. Respectful and healthy dialogue is so needed right now, and I loved hearing – and learning – from everyone.
Question for you: What do anti-Trump rallys, the opera, and a hijab have in common?
And no, this is not a bad joke…
Well, they all played a key role in a surreal experience I had this weekend.
If you’ve been watching the news at all, then I’m sure you’ve heard about all of the anti-Trump protests in New York City, LA, Portland, Chicago, all over. People are taking to the streets in anger over the results of the election.
Also happening this weekend in NYC, my best friend (since childhood) performed in an Opera Gala at Carnegie Hall. It was such a special moment and I couldn’t have been more proud of her. It was literally the realization of a dream that she’s had since we were both 7 years old, back in the Midwest, playing in the woods and dreaming of one day moving to New York and being on Broadway/in the Opera.
But as I was sitting there, I had this incredible moment of clarity that, I can only attribute to God.
Carnegie Hall is a big deal. It is the epicenter of classical performance, and also, coincidentally, in the epicenter of the largest anti-Trump demonstration in the nation – at Trump Tower. Carnegie Hall is located at 57th St. and 7th Avenue while Trump Tower is at 57th St. and 5th Avenue. They’re two blocks away.
(PS, mom and dad don’t freak out when you read this…I was totally safe) First of all, getting to Carnegie Hall, I couldn’t take a cab because all the protesters were shutting down traffic, making it impossible to navigate by car. So I took the subway. And walking out of the subway station from underground, I could hear all these helicopters surveying the scene overhead, the banging of drums, and the drone of an angry, yelling mass of humanity. There was a tension in the air that was palpable, and I really felt like I was in the middle of something big.
Fast forward an hour later, in the concert hall and the moment happened.
The concert was going on, the next song was up, and nine women came onstage in elegant ball gowns and began singing Ave Maria. Which, if you are unfamiliar, it is a beautiful arrangement of a prayer, in Latin.
So sitting in my plush seat at the opera, surrounded by exquisite crystal chandeliers, penguin suits, and heavenly music, I realized: here we are, listening to this serene prayer, with these violent and hateful protests going on, literally right outside the door.
And then, I began to look closer. These nine women: there was a black woman, a Latina woman, a Chinese woman, a Jewish woman, a Brazilian woman, a white woman, a transgender man, a muslim woman in a hijab, and an ethnically ambiguous woman.
I had a nearly out of body experience, realizing that this was a “God moment.”
These women are exactly what our country needs right now. Desperately.
They were all coming together, in prayer.
This performance was a concert of opera songs. The repertoire and cast were chosen months ago, when The Donald was simply a blip on the radar. And now, here we are, seeing a little beacon of hope and faith in the midst of the hurt and anger right outside the door.
Reading all 900 of your comments on my last post about Donald Trump…and yes, I read every single one…I realized just how deeply a) divided, b) passionate, c) needing/wanting to vent, and/or d) ominous, everyone feels about the results of the election, no matter what “side” you’re on.
The reality is, there are a lot of really hurting, scared, angry, conflicted, and/or unsure people out there. And that is evident in the name calling on social media and in the news, in the protests happening on the streets, in the vandalism in our towns, in the mouths of our children at school. We are in a free fall.
And there is only one thing to do:
We need to come together – all of us – and pray for our nation.
At the end of the song, I had two tears that had trickled down my check, thankful that God had revealed this glimpse of His grace and His healing power.
The thing about music, especially choral music, is that in order for it “work,” and sound beautiful with all the intricate harmonies and variations in tone and rhythm and volume…you have to listen to each other. You have to contribute your part, sometimes not singing the melody, but instead, the harmony or descant – but none the less, your part is vital to the finished product: the sweet and heavenly sounding music.
So I invite you to just think about that in these coming days and weeks.
AVE MARIA, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.
(Translation) Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the Fruit of your womb: Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.
*And coincidentally, as I’m typing this, I hear the drums and shouts of the protesters right outside my window, as they are marching right now through the Village in lower Manhattan.
I invite you to pray with me now.
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