Saturday, January 01, 2011

A New Year Resolution?

I must be getting older. No new year resolutions except maybe to spend more time with my better half doing what couples do these days and trying to actively find time for each other. A promise I have made to myself - I shy from calling it a resolution is to appreciate - truly appreciate the things I have. A family, a son, and my health. Too many times we take for granted what we have and when too little time is available is when we wake up to the beauty of our lives. Humankind is capable of so much atrocity and yet we are also capable of so much beauty too. War is still going on in too many parts of the world and it seems as if we learn from history only how to make it more harrowing.

Today brought to my mind The Cellist of Sarajevo who like so many others in Bosnia endured cold, mortar shells and sniper bullets during the siege of Bosnia. His character is who Canadian author Steven Galloway based his novel upon  and which carries the title of the same name. This cellist who now lives in Northern Ireland commemorated the lives of 22 civilian Bosnians who fell victim to a shell attack while lining up to buy bread. For 22 days the cellist, Vedran Smajlović played the Albinoni Adagio in G Minor for each life lost in that massacre. Listening to him play gave hope to those living and the will to survive in a war considered one of its worst in Europe. In the midst of atrocity and calamity he served as a reminder to all that amongst the destruction beauty can still be found and that life not only goes on but the hope of a better future is always there.

I re-read The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway today and was amazed how dazzled by the book I still am even the second time round. It has a magnificent simplicity yet a profound meaning and poignancy that impacts on the soul rendering one speechless, dazed and amazed. You can hear the cello in the background of the novel, you can feel the agony of the characters and you are fully willing to rejoice in the little triumphs and everyday heroism of ordinary civilians who seek no claim to fame or fortune and are only trying to live through an impossible situation. A wondrous book that will never cease to amaze. If you are lost for resolutions this year, then I have just offered you one that will more than suffice.

To listen to the Adagio in G Minor, click here.

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