It is 2001 and I am about to enter seminary. For a last blast, my son and I travel to Italy, Greece and France. In Pisa, we do the usual photo-op grab of the Leaning Tower and then wander around the square. I notice the Baptistry nearby and decide to go in while Ben shops for tourist trinkets and obscure music suited to his tastes.
As I approach, I hear a choir singing and it is breath-taking, even outside. I open the door only to have an Italian gentleman in a uniform (the sort national park folks back home wear) smilingly signal me to wait and so I do.
A few minutes pass, the door opens and several folks come streaming out. I am the only one at the time, so I enter alone and look around the spartan circular space for the choir. They are nowhere to be seen.
The gentleman who gave me entrance smilingly beckoned me to be seated and he began to sing. Just him. No choir. And it was . . . well, it was beyond words – what his voice and that space did was magic and I simply sat on the concrete bench that hugged the wall and listened and noticed only later the tears streaming down my face.
“Moved to tears” is more than a phrase: beauty in its many forms can and does move us to tears as it did that day in the Baptistry for me with a man whose name I will never know brought beauty to me I wasn’t looking for and did not expect.
For all the musicians in the world . . . opening grace for us in ways expected and unexpected . . . thank you.