Thursday night, I watched a guy raise up the sky.
It was in a dark auditorium more empty than full, in a sleepy little city. You feel for the performers when the crowd’s that small. Here they are, standing in front of the world. Except hardly any of the world showed up.
Anyway. This guy, the sky raiser, was part of a troupe of musicians playing folk music. The guy was small and young, 22 or 23. First song and there wasn’t anything too remarkable about him. He played well, but so did the other musicians sitting on the stage.
Second or third song, he started to sing. He didn’t have the greatest voice. But the voice he had was uninhibited and free, and he was running with it to the outer edges of his range and raw human spirit.
As he sang, he began to rise. To his knees, his feet, his arms lifting up, then opening wide, as though he was going to grab the whole sky and raise it higher in the universe.
If anyone was awake in that sleepy little city, it was this guy. This guy who’d reached into the depths of who he was and pulled out the bravest, most beautiful parts.
Watching him was like being splashed with cold water. Or being shaken awake by someone saying, “Look! This is what we humans are capable of.” Or just reminded that there are a million ways to live, and unbounded is one of them.
And when you live like that, you can’t help but light up life around you. So, the other musicians were rising with this guy, making music that was true and fierce and so powerful it seemed like they were playing a packed house at Carnegie Hall.
Which they weren’t. It was a near empty auditorium in a sleepy little city.
I stared at all the life onstage. That is how I want to live, I thought. Like the sky raisers do. Awake. Giving it all, no matter who shows up. Arms open wide enough that I could lift up the whole sky.
And when the sky raiser was done, the small audience who’d just seen how brave and beautiful the unbounded human spirit can be, roared so loud you’d think the whole world showed up to that auditorium.