Listen to today’s warm and fuzzy here!
On Nov. 18, 1995, Itzhak Perlman, the world renowned violinist, gave a concert at the Lincoln Center in New York City.
If you don’t know, Itzhak was stricken with polio as a child, so he has braces on both legs and walks with two crutches.
To see him walk is both painful and inspiring.
As he arrives on the stage, he puts his crutches aside, undoes the clasps on his legs, tucks one foot back and extends the other foot forward. Then he picks up the violin, nods to the conductor and begins to play.
On this particular night something went wrong. In the middle of the performance, one of his violin strings broke. The snap of that string could be heard throughout the concert hall
Everyone knew what he was going to have to do. Put the braces back on and with the aid of his crutches, make his way off stage to find another string or another violin. But he didn’t.
Instead, he closed his eyes and nodded to the conductor to begin again. And as the orchestra started, he picked up right from where he had left off.
He played with such power and passion and conviction.
We all knows that it is impossible to play a symphonic work with just three violin strings. I know that, and you know that, but that night Itzhak Perlman refused to know that.
It was obvious that as he played, he was adapting, changing and re-composing the piece in his head.
When he finished, there was silence in the room. And then people rose and cheered. There was an outburst of applause from every corner of the concert hall.
He smiled and then raised his bow to quiet the audience, and then he said, in a quiet 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.”
How profound. How powerful. And such a metaphor for life.
This is a man that knows the very definition of daily pain and knows truly what a challenge life is and can be. And not only has he overcome the odds against him, he continues to push himself to do what any of us would call impossible.
Maybe you are suffering from pain today, of illness or a loss. There is no way to minimize the pain. But perhaps, just perhaps, when you think pushing through is no longer possible, you can think of this true-life story and decide to make music with what you have left.
Adapted from the book, “When Life Hurts: A Personal Journey From Adversity to Renewal” by Rabbi Wayne Dosick