The Inverted Atrium
Annie and her grand mother along with twenty other excited parents, grand parents, teachers and children made their way to the large elevator door that would take them to the lower level and the Inverted Atrium before they reached the tunnel that led to the Inspirational Garden. We waited briefly as each of the six separate elevator doors, positioned around the edge of the atrium opened in unison to transport guests to their various destinations and gateways to a world of creativity.
We all slowly made our way into the circular elevator, with the doors closing gently behind us. It seemed almost instantaneous that the lights dimmed and the elevator doors reopened into deep darkness. The guests flooded out and dispersed one at a time along the wide open balcony that enclosed the rim of the large inverted atrium. As the last to exit the elevator we approached the balcony just as my personal audio fashioned hearing chip registered my presence. One couldn’t hear a pin drop as the atrium began to fill with the resounding sound of a solo saxophonist.
Suddenly the inverted atrium transformed into a live cinema screen with the small image of a single flashing star lighting up the dark motionless atrium. Slowly it revealed the projection of a complex star system to the sound of the saxophonist. The sound of the saxophonist faded as the voice of an Angel called Clarence began talking to God about the life of a man called George Bailey as a deep black hole emerged from the centre of the atrium floor, transforming into a circular shaped film screen revealing an old black and white monochrome movie.
The movie began depicting the life story, character, values and motivations of this man George Bailey in hyper speed. As the man progressed through scenes in his life, fulfilling his spiritual and creative purpose, one good deed after another, the single star began to shine brighter and stronger. As each scene of the film unfolded and George touched someone’s life instantaneously a new small star would appear connected to Georges ‘star causing it to grow more magnificent and stronger. Simultaneously another instrument would join the sound of the solo saxophonist. Within a very short time the atrium floor was dazzling in spectacular colours with radiating stars of every colour of the rainbow accompanied with the sound of an impromptu orchestra performance. Eventually the screen of the film was hidden from view with the cascade of sparkling lights and stars, leaving us with nothing but the sound of this magnificent orchestra and the voice of the narrator the Angel Clarence.
As George’s life progressed he faced new and more difficult challenges becoming increasingly despondent, confused and disillusioned. Then as if from nowhere faraway in the distance we could hear the despondent and distressed voice of George. Suddenly we could hear him uttering seven little words which rebounded off the floor of the atrium and across the vast room:
“I wish I had never been born.”
Simultaneously as the words were uttered the whole atrium was turned into darkness and the room was now in complete silence. As we stood we couldn’t hear a pin drop. Then briefly from the depth of darkness a single voice emerged and said:
“Life is Wonderful and ever changing in cycles of both fortune and misfortune, our ability to work through misfortune comes from the strength of our spirits purpose.”
And then instantly a single saxophonist began playing again as a small star emerged from the darkness and began shining once more.
Gradually the lights were slightly raised along the balcony to reveal individual transparent computer screens placed strategically along the balcony edge. Each computer instantaneously invited each guest to contribute openly or anonymously to the ‘Gratitude Book’ sharing either the names or short notes or stories about individuals that had made a positive connection and influence in their lives from; teachers, parents, grandparents, mentors, brothers, sisters, colleagues to acquaintances.
As children and adults accessed their computer screens and began anonymously posting their notes of gratitude. One by one a new instrument accompanied the saxophonist and a new star emerged on the atrium floor. We watched as stars emerged and flashed across the inverted atrium floor. Within a few minutes the room was filled with the resounding sound of a philharmonic orchestra and the atrium floor was once more in full spectacular light and colour.
With a little sparkle in their eyes and a gentle smile on their faces children, parents, grand parents and teachers stood transfixed to the spot, gazing reflectively across the sea of stars inspiring everyone with ‘A little soup for their souls’.
Silently Annie and I quietly turned and arm in arm made our way to the tunnel that would lead us to the Inspirational Garden.
Who is on your Gratitude List today?