a few nights ago: Yo-Yo Ma and The Music of Strangers. I’d always been a fan of the Bach cello suites that Yo-Yo Ma plays (and that I listen to over and over) as well as countless other performances he’s made over the years, but as we were watching, I realized I’d never thought of him as a three-dimensional human being. I know that sounds silly, but usually with a famous person, we don’t realize that we are projecting what we think onto who they are and the result is not-really-a-person but a pastiche of impressions and opinions and longings.
In this film, Yo-Yo Ma’s son said of his father: I thought my father worked at Logan Airport (because we were always dropping him off there). And he said (this is a paraphrase) that he felt as if his dad started his work the second he arrived anywhere, talking to people, finding out about them, telling them his stories and hearing theirs. His son said, “He does his work and he happens to bring his cello along with him.” I loved this because it reminded me that we are all doing the work we’re put here to do, whether we are master cellists or moms.
It’s what we say and how we interact, it’s the kindness and the shared humanity that matters. And some of us express that through musical instruments and some through writing and some through growing roses. And we keep doing it, it doesn’t matter what, because that’s what we came to do.