Making music with whatever is left

violin-bridge

Fr. Michel:

Itzak Perlman, the world famous violinist, has performed magnificently throughout his decades long career. If you’ve ever seen him in concert, you know that he walks with crutches and two braces on his legs, due to the fact that he had polio as a child. When he walks on stage one step at a time, slowly, painfully, it is an unforgettable sight. He makes his way to his chair, sits down, puts his crutches on the floor, and undoes the clasps on the leg braces. Then he bends down and picks up his violin, places it under his chin and nods to the conductor that he is ready to begin.

One night, however, something went wrong. Just as he finished playing the first few measures, one of the strings on his violin broke. You know the sound when you hear it, it’s like a pistol shot. There is no mistaking what it means, so everyone knew he would have to get up, put the braces back on, pick up his crutches and slowly make his way off stage to replace the string. But this time he didn’t. Instead, he waited a moment, closed his eyes, and signaled the conductor to begin again.

The orchestra began and he played again with such passion and power, that both the other musicians and the audience were stunned. You see, everyone knows that it is impossible to play violin with only three strings. Mr. Perlman refused to accept that, and so he modulated, transposed, recomposed the piece in his head as he played. Those who were there said it sounded like he had somehow completely retuned the remaining strings to the point where the piece never sounded better. And when he finished, there was a stunned silence in the opera hall. Then people were on their feet, cheering and screaming in appreciation. Mr. Perlman stood and motioned for the audience to quiet down, and then he said in a humble voice, “You know, sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left.”

And so, as we ourselves struggle to make sense of our lives, as we wrestle with our addictions, as we try to manage our time and support the people of the parish and make good choices, perhaps it is instructive for us to remember his words. Right now, while we are in the prime of our lives, we are able to make music for God with all the gifts at our disposal. But someday, when some of those gifts are no longer ours, we will continue to make music with whatever we have left. And it will be magnificent.

photo credit: redlynxx01 via photopin cc

The real battle; the real healing

banksy-art

Life makes so much more sense when we comprehend what the real battle is, and what our truest need for healing is.

Larry Crabb, Connecting:

God will one day wage war against every reason for tears, and He will win. But for now He is fighting a different battle… Until we go home, we can count on God to lead us into a battle against soul disease. That’s the war He is waging today….

When He chooses, God can as easily reverse cancer as fix necks. But He gives us no reason to count on Him to do so. To pray for physical healing with confidence is really presumptuous. It reflects an arrogant demand more than humble faith. We can ask Him to cure our bodies with confidence that He can, but we can ask Him to heal our souls with confidence that He will.”

Image: art by Banksy, photo by Jason Blait, via Flickr

What’s the frequency?

vintage-radio

Patrick Morley, A Man’s Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines:

When I drive my car on short trips… I often listen to my favorite radio station for as long as I can. But once I’m out of range, the voices fade and I get the whirrr of static. Or I hear another voice from a competing station bleeding onto the same frequency. And then I loose the signal altogether. But just because I’ve put myself out of range doesn’t mean the radio station quits broadcasting the signal.”

Similarly, God is always broadcasting through His works, whisper, and witness. We just have to put ourselves within range.”

photo credit: Brandon Christopher Warren via photopin cc