There come times in our life when the words of someone lift us to the stars and beyond. So it happened to me. And now I share that moment with you. It was a weekly note from a dear friend, Kevin Flanagan, in which he asks the question, “Who are you?”. Below is his note. May you enjoy the beauty, wisdom and joy of his insights.
Who Are You?
“Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself.” – Miles Davis
Starved, freezing and surrounded by the German army, Dmitri Shostakovich was inspired by the beauty he saw in the fortitude and resilience of the people around him. It was in those desperate times, that he found out who he was. In Leningrad in 1941 was where the Russian Army chose to live or die – and die they nearly did. During the almost three year siege, over a million Russians perished in the city – mostly from cold and starvation. But it was in the rubble and desolation that was left of that great city in its darkest hour where Shostakovich, educated as a musician and composer, had to ask himself an existential question – who am I and what am I here for? The answer can be heard in his greatest work, the Leningrad Symphony. It was first performed in the besieged city by a collection of starving musicians, and broadcast over speakers throughout the city, receiving an hour long ovation when it ended. It is said that even the Germans who heard it silenced their guns and wept.
Who are you? It can be a startling question and one that makes us take note.
I’m a Husband, a Father, a Business person…… the list goes on and on, but are they really the answers to the question being asked? We are called to be many things but the question that really hits home is – how do we live out our calling? Are we as sure of ourselves as Dmitri Shostakovich was when he asked himself “who am I?” He knew he was created to share what he had, music, with the world. In the darkest hour – who are you? Who am I? Each of us was created to answer that very question. This is the question of a lifetime and our spirit is starving for the answer.
In reality, we are all given that very task. We are all called to share the good inside us with a world that needs it. We are composers meant to deliver the story of our lives, to share the music inside us that only we can write with a sometimes crazy world. Somedays the task is easy. Other days it can be challenging to the core but no one else can write it for us. We are the only ones that can. The one thing that can help us in those times is to deepen our relationship with the mystery of meaning and purpose in our lives and find in that the greatest mystery of all – the mystery of love. When we share our true selves with the world, with a reckless generosity and gratitude for all we’ve been given, we give all that we can and all that we are – we love the world as we are meant to.
This January, when we all are making our resolutions, maybe we can resolve to spend some time each day reflecting on who it is we are as individuals, allowing ourselves to be drawn closer to living out that best life, that best version of who we are. I can’t wait to hear your symphony!
If you’d like to listen to the Symphony, here it is.
May you find and deepen your purpose and meaning in life, embrace your beautiful mystery of love and share with the world your music inside. Let them hear your magnificent symphony.
Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!