Thursday, December 19, 2019

To Comfort Those Who Mourn

One day Xaver Wilhelmy was sipping a gin and tonic at the top of the World Trade Center. When he returned, it was "Ground Zero" and there was a smoking pile of mangled devastation. In time he would also return to experience the memorial. Talk about contrast.

The loss of those days was... and continues to be... staggering. The hugs not shared, the words not spoken, the silence, the loss.

Xaver Wilhelmy is a pipe organ builder who specializes in voicing - the math and physics of creating sound. In the aftermath of September 11th, he wanted to create a unique sound for each voice lost that day. He wanted to make them of glass because of the interplay of light and color that is complex and ever-changing, just like the human spirit. Nothing inspires and heals like music and beauty, and he wanted his work to comfort those who mourn.

Never-mind that organ pipes had never been made of glass before, he didn't let that stop him. He designed prototypes at his dining room table.  His young daughter chose the colors.

Then he began the Wilhelmy American Flag project. It took him and his crew (the seven of them) 18 months of working full time to create this instrument. He quit counting when the cost passed $265k. This wasn't a rich man's hobby, it was sacrificial. He was a man on a mission.

We haven't known how to share this instrument with the world. It's in storage. Waiting. Just waiting. We pray that the time will come when *somehow* it is able to do what it was designed to do... but we don't yet know the place where it will shine, or the people who become its next caretakers. All we know is that it was created to be a voice for those who lost theirs. We wait in faith, and I continue to share my remarkable husband's work and heart with the world in every way I know how.

Life is sacred. Every life. Every voice. Yours.

Today, hug someone a little extra tightly. Life is short. Speak your truth. Say "I love you". Laugh. Sing. Shout out. 

Your voice matters.
Your voice matters.