19 posts tagged CHALLENGES
19 posts tagged CHALLENGES
…just a bit more!
“With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.” ~Wayne Dyer
Do you ever get that feeling where you don’t want to talk to anybody? You don’t want to smile and you don’t want to fake being happy. But at the same time you don’t know exactly what’s wrong either. There isn’t a way to explain it to someone who doesn’t already understand. If you could want anything in the world it would be to be alone. People have stopped being comforting and being alone never was.
At least no one will constantly ask you what is wrong and there isn’t anyone who won’t take ‘I don’t know’ for an answer. You feel the way you do just because. You hope the feeling will pass soon and that you will be able to be yourself again, but until then all you can do is wait.
“Don’t be afraid to fail. Be afraid not to try.”
“Life isn’t about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself.”
“I like to pretend everything’s alright, because when everyone thinks you’re fine, sometimes you forget for a while that you’re not.”
“Passion is passion. It’s the excitement between the tedious spaces, and it doesn’t matter where it’s directed…It can be coins or sports or politics or horses or music or faith…the saddest people I’ve ever met in life are the ones who don’t care deeply about anything at all.”
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.
The audience 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 know that.
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. And then people rose and cheered. There was an extraordinary outburst of applause from every corner of the auditorium. All were on their feet, screaming and cheering, doing everything they could to show how much they appreciated what he had done.
He smiled, wiped the sweat from his brow, raised his bow to quiet the audience, 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. And who knows? Perhaps that is the definition of life - not just for artists but for everyone.
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 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.
When the world says, “Give up.”
Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”
Short Story: “The Obstacle in Our Path”
“Heavy rain showers remind me of challenges in life. Never ask for a lighter rain. Instead pray for a better umbrella…”
Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass.
It’s about learning to dance in the rain.