Belgium has NATO and EU headquarters within its borders. The political aside, Belgium is open-minded and welcoming; the Belgians are concerned for society and its welfare and its own various ethnic populations. I experience this attitude in unexpected places. A potluck breakfast in the nearby and lovely Minnewater park was organized by some local society or association. People from other countries could bring an ethnic dish for all to share then chat in Nederlands or another language and sit and enjoy the warm sun which blessed that Sunday morning. It was well attended I am told.
Recently I attended an afternoon concert at the Sint Salvator Cathedral. The difference was that it was primarily for older persons and the handicapped. Again I am not sure who organized it but the primary, excellent and well-known organist at the cathedral took his time to play. One musician was himself handicapped playing a variety of wooden flutes. Another talented musician played the immensely long Alpine horn as well as other various horns. Each instrument used was explained and demonstrated from the slightly raised platform. The concert was lively and light; pieces were short to fit the attention span and to fill the afternoon with pleasure. A lovely generosity of spirit filled our corner of the Cathedral; no one was too important to serve these sometimes marginalized members of society.
The Cathedral is undergoing renovation/preservation, a perennial sight on churches in Brugge, but our corner was completely full with older persons in chairs on one side. Then the other side was reserved for those in wheel chairs or with walkers. Some of these were older persons but some young and handicapped. I arrived a bit on the tardy side so my seat was among the handicapped. I watched as they were both carefully tended, whatever their needs, by a relative or caregiver, but also tapping feet or hands or heads to both communicate their pleasure and enjoy the music. There were many smiles.
As I strolled to my street behind the cathedral, I watched wheelchairs being hoisted into vans and passed people with canes and those leaning fondly on family or friends’ arms. I reflected on my own health and happiness and had a grateful heart for being drawn into these people’s obvious joy at their afternoon concert.


2 thoughts on “Concert

  1. Reminiscing about Taiwan tonight. Tiffany is coming to see me tomorrow. She is in the area and we connected on Facebook. I’m sure we will look through old photos. Anyway was thinking of you and wanted you to know. Jenny


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