A Lesson In 1900Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Shortly after the Second World War, Max, a transplanted American, visits an English pawn shop to sell his trumpet. The shopkeeper recognizes the tune Max plays as one on a wax master of an unreleased recording, discovered and restored from shards found in a piano salvaged from a cruise ship turned hospital ship, now slated for demolition. This chance discovery prompts a story from Max, which he relates both to the shopkeeper and later to the official responsible for the doomed vessel, for Max is a born storyteller.
Though now down on his luck and disillusioned by his wartime experiences, the New Orleans-born Max was once an enthusiastic and gifted young jazz musician, whose longest gig was several years with the house band aboard the Virginian, a posh cruise ship. While gaining his sea legs, he was befriended by another young man, the pianist in the same band, whose long unlikely name was Danny Boodman T.D. Lemons 1900, though everyone just called him 1900, the year of his birth. Abandoned in first class by his immigrant parents, 1900 was found and adopted by Danny, a stoker, and raised in the engine rooms, learning to read by reading horse-racing reports to his adoptive dad. After Danny's death in an accident, 1900 remained on the ship. Increasingly lured by the sound of the piano in the first-class ballroom, he eventually became a gifted pianist, a great jazz improvisationist, a composer of rich modern music inspired by his intense observation of the life around him, the stories passengers on all levels of the ship trusted him enough to tell. He also grew up to be a charming, iconoclastic young man, at once shrewd and oddly innocent. His talent earned him such accolades that he was challenged by, and bested Jelly Roll Morton in an intense piano duel that had poor Max chewing paper on the sofa in agonies of suspense...
And yet for all the richness and variety of his musical expression, he never left the ship, except almost, once, in the aftermath of his infatuation with a beautiful young woman immigrant who inspired the music committed to the master Max discovers in the pawnshop. Max realizes that 1900 must still be on the ship, and determines to find him, and to find out once and for all why he has so consistently refused to leave. (IMDb)
To me, 1900's is a fascinating creature. He managed to shine bright while secluded on a ship. He captivated many...his records going far and wide while he remained in one solitary location...never leaving...never venturing. But in one moment, one single second, beauty stepped into 1900's life and turned everything upside down. And it was in that moment that something beautiful happened in him, as well....
Watch and see:
It was not until 1900 set his eyes on something beautiful, something that captivated his heart...that the sound and tone of what his fingertips were playing changed. In that moment, what he was creating came to life, with blood in its veins and breath in its lungs. Would it have been the same if the woman had not appeared in the portal? Would the song have born the pulse of his own heartbeat?
I can try to do things, create beautiful things, but if my eyes are not on the One who gave me the ability...if my intentions are not to glorify my Savior...it will never turn out as beautiful and meaningful as I wanted it to. And what would be the point?
I want my works to change a life. I want a simple portrait of a young girl to spark within her the knowledge that she was created for greatness...and shaped by the hands of a glorious King. I want the words I write to cut into the hardened hearts, the wounded hearts of those that read. I want the songs that we write and sing to win ground for a Savior that made us to be his disciples, who made us to walk in His ways and reach the hearts of those He loves so very much.
We were created for greatness. We were made to do and make beautiful things. We are not meant to be ordinary...unnoticed wallflowers that blend into the pattern. We were created to stand out, shout, fight, rally and dance like David in the streets. You and I...we are something more than what this world wants us to be!
But without out eyes set on the Beauty that breathed air into our lifeless lungs...we will never shine as bright or as far as we were supposed it. So, I, for one...am keeping my eyes trained on the Savior, the King, the Father...my Abba...
And I will shine. We will shine. We will become a fraction of the beauty that He is.