Something strange unfolded in front of a four- or five-year-old boy. His sister who is one year older than him suddenly collapsed to the ground and twisted up, panting. He lay by her side and talked to her to calm her down. He grew concerned. He didn’t realize that she was not in a state to talk and kept talking to her and brushing her body until she woke up from a seizure.
While the boy didn’t know, his sister who was born postmature developed a permanent disability from cerebromeningitis caused by vaccination. She couldn’t attend a regular school. The boy was shocked to see his father shaking and crying on the stairs after he took her to an educational facility for those with disabilities.
The boy with such memories in his mind grew up to be a cellist. He took care of his sister even after he became an adult, especially since his parents passed away. He tried to stay with her even after he got married. He brought his sister with him even when he was invited to travel and play. It became their family custom for his South Korean cellist wife and children to share a room while he and his sister shared a separate double room.
The sister told her brother how great his performance was after each concert. She also tried her best to live to the fullest. She had to be stopped as she enjoyed eating and drinking too much. She laughed a lot and cried a lot. When she got an incurable disease at the age of 64, he brought her to visit their parents’ graves, meet friends, and go picnic. When she said she wanted to listen to a cello concerto, he played one alone. It is not a big deal for a single cello to play a concerto as it was for her sister.
This is a story from German cellist Julius Berger’s autobiographical essay. Where did his compassion love come from? Strange warmth can be felt in his writing and cello performance. Perhaps, humane warmth is required for both art and performance.