I had the opportunity recently to attend a performance of Stomp at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. It was a remarkable experience to watch a percussion troupe create music for both the ears and the eyes. In the performers’ skilled hands, everyday household items – brooms, lighters, PVC pipe, kitchen sinks, buckets, garbage cans, newspapers and plastic bags – became sources of endless delight and fascination.
As I walked home from the show, I was reflecting on the percussionists’ ability not just to use something differently but first to see it differently. In my traditional way of seeing things, brooms are for sweeping, newspapers are for reading, and bags are for carrying things. But these men and women saw something different. They saw – and heard – potential, and syncopation, and laughter. And they helped us, the audience, to see and hear it, too.
I like to think that I have pretty good vision – at least when I am wearing my contact lenses – but the Stomp performers reminded me that I am, in some ways, blind. I am, at times, blinded by what I think I know. My eyes see the broom just fine, but without the performers’ insight and vision, I couldn’t see that it could be used for something other than sweeping.
In Mark 10, when Jesus asks a blind man what he wants Jesus to do for him, the man responds, “Rabbi, I want to see.” In these Lenten days, I believe that we, too, are invited to ask Jesus for the same grace. Help us to see not just with our eyes, but with our minds and hearts and imaginations, too. Through that lens, matchboxes and brooms – and everything else that makes up the ordinariness of our daily living – can become instruments of joy.
from the alumni blog of the Colorado Vincentian Volunteers