Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Inspiring Story for All of Us.

My mom sent me an email yesterday that I wanted to post on here. I don't know who the original author was as it was an email that has clearly circled cyberspace. It included pictures which I will not put here, simply because I can't figure out how. I chose to post it because it is an email of hope. It is also a reflection of how I choose to walk my journey with MS:

This is a wonderful story for those of us who will lose or have lost a string or two along our way. (And who hasn’t from time to time?)
On Nov. 18, 1995, Itzhak Perlman, the violinist, came on stage to
give a concert at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City.
If you have ever been to a Perlman concert, you know that getting on
stage is no small achievement for him. He was stricken with polio as a child,
and so he has braces on both legs and walks with the aid of two crutches.
To see him walk across the stage one step at a time, painfully and slowly, is an awesome sight.

He walks painfully, yet majestically, until he reaches his chair.
Then he sits down, slowly, puts his crutches on the floor,
undoes the clasps on his legs, tucks one foot back
and extends the other foot forward. Then he bends down
and picks up the violin, puts it under his chin, nods to the conductor and proceeds to play.
By now, the audience is used to this ritual. They sit quietly while
he makes his way across the stage to his chair. They remain
reverently silent while he undoes the clasps on his legs. They wait until he is ready to play.
But this time, something went wrong. Just as he finished the first few bars,
one of the strings on his violin broke. You could hear it snap - it went off
like gunfire across the room. There was no mistaking what that sound meant.
There was no mistaking what he had to do. We figured that he would have
to get up, put on the clasps again, pick up the crutches and limp his way off stage
- to either find another violin or else find another string for this one.
But he didn't. Instead, he waited a moment, closed his eyes and then signaled the conductor to begin again.The orchestra began, and he played from where he had left off.
And he played with such passion and such power and such purity
as they had never heard before.Of course, anyone knows that it is impossible to play
a symphonic work with just three strings.
I know that, and you know that, but that night
Itzhak Perlman refused to accept it. You could see him modulating, changing, re-
composing the piece in his head. At one point,
it sounded like he was de-tuning the strings
to get new sounds from them that they had
never made before. When he finished, there
was an awesome silence in the room. Then
suddenly people rose and cheered.

There was an extraordinary outburst of applause
from every corner of the auditorium. We were
all on our feet, screaming and cheering, doing everything
we could to show how much we appreciated what he had done.
He smiled, wiped the sweat from this brow, raised
his bow to quiet us, and then he said not
boastfully, but in a quiet, pensive, reverent tone . .

"You know, sometimes it is the artist's task to find
out how much music you can still make with what
you have left".......

What a powerful line that is! It has stayed in my
mind ever since I heard it. And who knows?
Perhaps that is the definition of life - not just for
artists but for all of us. Here is a man who has
prepared all his life to make music on a violin of
four strings, who, all of a sudden, in the middle
of a concert, finds himself with only three strings.

So he makes music with three strings, and the
music he made that night with just three strings
was more beautiful, more sacred, more memorable,
than any that he had ever made before, when he
had all four strings.

So, perhaps our task in this shaky, fast-changing, bewildering world
in which we live is to make music, at first with all that we have,
and then, when that is no longer possible, to make music with what we have left

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