About 18 months ago, we lost a dear friend who was only 36. Her name was Julie, and I have written about her here, and here.
She was in the college fellowship I helped to lead more that 17 years ago. There are few people that I will remember in my life as truly beautiful, in all the depth that word conveys. Julie was one of those few; she was beautiful from deep within her soul. In joy, in love for others, in a caring heart, and in her mind, which loved the classics and things of lasting worth.
We received a belated Christmas letter just yesterday from Tony, Julie's husband. I was reminded again that Julie married an amazing man. After Julie's death, Tony relocated his family (pictured at left) to Lawrence, Kansas, to be closer to his extended family.
Tony is taking time off, to write, to paint, and just to be. He is deeply involved in the lives of his children, and is enjoying the simple beauty of the Midwest. I envy the simple things in life that Tony enjoys. Small mercies for a man who has been through more in his 40 years than most. Far more.
And Tony is creating new things. Tony has long been a poet, and now, his gift is being shared on a much larger stage than he even thought possible. Tony has had a poem commissioned by composer Eric Whitacre. This work has become a standard part of the choral repertoire garnering performances and praise all over the world. The National Endowment for the Arts American Masterpieces Program includes this piece in its list of required repertoire for program concerts, calling it a significant work of American choral music, and among the best of [Americas] cultural and artistic legacy. It appears on the recording Eric Whitacre: Cloudburst
Sleep - By Anthony Silvestri (copyrighted)Out of great, almost unmeasurable pain, emerges new hope. Poetry, art, new life.
The evening hangs beneath the moon
A silver thread on darkened dune
With closing eyes and resting head
I know that sleep is coming soon
Upon my pillow, safe in bed,
A thousand pictures fill my head,
I cannot sleep, my minds aflight,
And yet my limbs seem made of lead
If there are noises in the night,
A frightening shadow, flickering light...
Then I surrender unto sleep,
Where clouds of dream give second sight
What dreams may come, both dark and deep
Of flying wings and soaring leap
As I surrender unto sleep
As I surrender unto sleep.
I wish for my friend Tony, as he and his family start life anew....many nights of deep, restful, God graced....sleep.
And as a postscript, these lyrics grace the Virtual Choir 3 video: