The Magic Flute

See the birds of the sky, that they don’t sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns. Your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you of much more value than they? (Matthew 6:26 WEB)

 After many discussions about going to the opera, I finally agreed. My reticent attitude hinged not on opera but on attending via the “standing room only” option. I don’t usually jump at the opportunity to stand five or six hours but it is cheaper.

 The day of the opera I enjoyed the trip on public transport from our home in the country into the city. Eventually I met Beth, and a friend who works at the school, outside the Vienna State Opera house. We entered a long hall, not quite the first in line, and sat on the floor. On the floor you say! Oh, yes, we had a two hour wait in line to be almost first in line to purchase standing room only tickets. It’s quite the process. Careful planning is required to insure you have a great piece of land for your feet and hindquarters.

 First, you arrived three hours prior to the start time of the opera. You sat on the floor, read books, played cards, talked, slept, whatever passed the time and distracted your mind from that awful pain that developed from sitting on a hard floor for so long. During the wait the opera house stationed a brute force along the hallway to be sure no one tried to cut to the front of the line. Even if your friends were up front you had to stay where you were or be escorted to the end of the line. One of our guards looked like Al Jolson, little mustache included. The other gentleman looked like he was there when they built the opera house. He reminded me of Tim Conway, with his aged shuffle and thick glasses. He shuffled, but he was quick and you didn’t dare try to jockey for a better position in line. Finally, about an hour before the performance, they opened the flood gates and allowed the waiting line to trickle through to the ticket window.

 Once through the first set of doors another garrison of uniformed opera thugs insured you remained in an orderly line to purchase your cheap tickets. You could pay 3.50 Euro to stand on the main floor area just under the Emperor’s Box, or be real cheap and pay 2.00 Euro to stand on the fourth floor with the pigeons and albatrosses. As a generous husband and big spender I purchased the 3.50 Euro tickets and we quickly moved to another line.

 There were two lines for the main floor and people jogged back and forth hoping for a better position in line. Fortunately, the diminutive female opera police insured everyone went to the end of whichever line they finally selected. About forty five minutes before the performance the flood gates were opened and additional security was installed to be sure everyone walked up the stairs in pairs to the standing place. We were in the third row on the right end.

2003_Vienna_094This was a great place. We were just above the main floor and just below the best box in the house, the Emperor’s box. Carefully tying our scarves to the banister in front of our claimed space we were then free to find the WC (a.k.a. toilet) or sit on the floor in anticipation of a world renown performance. From our locale we had Austrians to the left, Mexicans behind, French in front and Americans along side the French. I was at the end so I could lean against the wall. Praise the Lord for small favors.

 We were there to watch The Magic Flute by Mozart. It was the first opera written in German and immensely popular around the world. I have been a fan of this opera for years but never enjoyed a live performance. Since we attended a German opera in a German speaking opera house the entire performance was in German. Go figure!

 To overcome the language difficulties, since it is more difficult to understand a foreign language being sung versus spoken, the opera house was very ingenious. At each seat, or standing position, was a small display screen. The screen provided, in German or English, the text of the songs and dialog as the opera unfolded. Since I’m not too short, and the screen was somewhere in my mid section, I was constantly looking up then down then up then down to match the activity with the text. It was fun! Really! I might have looked ridiculous bobbing my head up and down like a dog in the back window of a car, but I was glad I went.

 Don’t tell Beth or she will want to go to all the operas! About two and a half hours into the performance my legs were starting to scream for a place to sit. With endurance and will, not to mention leaning on the rail, bumping the people in front and behind me, plus a little hip hop dance from foot to foot I made it to the end, including the six times the cast came out for applause. It was late, we were tired, hungry and ready to sit anywhere!

 Exiting the opera house we crossed under the street to Merado’s Restaurant for some dinner. I don’t usually eat at 10:20 pm but with no lunch or dinner I was ready for food, drink and the unimaginable comfort of sitting. (OK, I forgot to eat lunch and we missed dinner sitting on the marble floor waiting for standing tickets so it was my fault. I was trying for the sympathy vote here.)

 After our meal we rode the subway, reached our car, drove home and walked in our front door as the local church bells chimed midnight. All in all, it was a great day, I might even consider another Opera, even standing. First I’ll check for tickets which include a seat! For five years I avoided the opera. It just didn’t sound fun to stand for so many hours. When we finally went, I was glad I did.

 The Lord wants me to trust Him and take a step in faith. I look at what I perceive the situation to be and keep my feet firmly planted. Then finally, sometimes after a long period of procrastination, I take that fateful step. It’s then I discover the wonder of what God has in store. It’s never what I imagined. It’s always better!

 Sometimes, even after long periods of procrastination, we need to put our feet into motion. We need to take that step of faith, we know God has been prodding us to take, and discover the wonders of His grace and plan. Until we do, we will never hear the beautiful music He has orchestrated just for us.

 When was the last time you visited the opera?

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