Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Leonard Bernstein

How can I explain the pain I feel when I look at pictures of Leonard Bernstein? I've always had a problem with pictures of people, starting with my parents when I was pretty small. I always see something in them, a spirit perhaps - something in the eyes?

I've downloaded Bernstein's "Make Our Garden Grow" from his's so beautiful, it gives me goosebumps - both the music and the lyrics..."we're neither pure nor wise nor good...." "before we die, make some sense of this life".......

The music is so breathtaking, it literally makes me tear up. Then there's his "West Side Story" and his Mass with it's "Simple Song".....

I think of this Jewish son of Jewish refugees from Russia. His father was a businessman who liked that his son had a love of music - but not as a calling, a career. Leonard had a different plan and made it happen.

He was physically beautiful, he had a flare for drama - if you look at his photographs, he just has a way of holding that cigarette, holding that head of thick hair, looking off into the distance with that leonine face......

As a believer, I feel a special burden for this son of Abraham.....the picture of him against the Wailing Wall with his yarmulke on chokes me up.

I imagine him trying to make sense of the Holocaust - and trying to believe in a God that could allow that to happen - and I wonder how many other Bernstein-like artists got swallowed up by the evil of Hitler.

I read about his bisexuality/homosexuality and his depression. He was devoted to his wife and stayed by her side as she died of cancer. He adored his children - and.....he lived his life.

I pray to God that he found solace under the wings of the almighty somehow. He left us a great legacy of beauty and grace here on earth.


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