We were close enough that we could hear page turns and people taking breathes – even the soloists who were playing string instruments. It was if they were part of the instrument and they needed to breathe for it. It was neat to see so closely some of the world’s greatest musicians playing some of my favorite pieces. Our seats were eye level with their shoes and I was thinking that being the world’s best they could at least do with better socks.
They also performed selections from Carmen. Even if you are unfamiliar with opera in general you know at least some of this piece – especially the Song of the Toreador. According to the program notes when George Bizet premiered this piece it was an absolute flop. But that was due more to the audience not receiving what they expected than it not being a good piece. To put it mildly they went expecting Bugs Bunny but they got Henry V – a far better piece for which they were wholly unprepared. Three months later Bizet died thinking Carmen one of the worst operatic disasters in history instead of what it is: one of the most widely known and loved pieces of opera ever.
He was not alone. This happened quite a bit throughout history. Swan Lake was an unmitigated disaster when it was first produced. Not till after the death of the composer did it become the icon of ballet that it is today. And so it goes with art, books, and ideas, discoveries, and efforts of all kinds.
I think about parents teaching the faith to their children. Teach and desire it as they might some kids wander astray. That does not mean that what you give them will not bear fruit. I think of my Dad. He wanted nothing of Church or God his whole life. How that must break a mother’s heart. In fact, it was not until he was not far from his death bed that he took to prayer and sacraments. But that might not have been the case had his parents not laid some sort of groundwork. Would I have had the environment to become a priest had he not been baptized and confirmed as a youngster – marrying a Catholic woman and being married in the Church? Two generations later those efforts resulted in a vocation. Whoda thunk it?
Do not despair your efforts at bringing God into the world. Martyrs never experience their influence on the world in this life. Keep true to the calling, stay true to the course, your single life may influence more people than you can imagine in your lifetime.