Saturday, April 14, 2007

Making The Most Of What You Have

This post is dedicated to Miss Vickie

I am thrilled she is feeling better and posted yesterday!

Welcome back sweetie!

Friendship is born at that moment
when one person says to another:
"What! You, too? Thought I was the only one."

~ C.S. Lewis

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 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.

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 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.

I received this letter minus the pictures from a girlfriend in an email.(Thanks Chatter!)

The letter gave me encouragement for dealing with some hurdles I am facing at the moment.

A special thank you to Karen because I can’t express how much your support has meant to me.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Blogger Rachel said...

Great post Raggedy!! A fine example of someone making good out of the bad! That was a powerful statement that he said! Thanks!

April 14, 2007 9:46 AM  
Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

This is the story of Anthony Adverse, I think. Use the bad to make the good.

You got troubles, Rags? Let Ol' Hoss know if you need some helping.

April 14, 2007 1:25 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

Hoss, Anthony Adverse is one of my favorite books!!

Raggedy, I was honored once, to see/hear Perlman playing in person at NCSU, during the days they had a concert series called "Friends of the College". He made me a fan of the violin that night.

April 14, 2007 2:47 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Hi Raggedy -- I visited Miss Vickie. She had a very couragous post, you have a nice tribute blog for her today.

I'll try to remember 's "You know, sometimes it is the artist's task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left."
Mrs. Jim plays the viola, she might like this.

Perlman is coming to Houston April 27 and 29. We might go, don't have tickets yet but they are available.

April 14, 2007 3:17 PM  
Blogger Vickie said...

Raggedy, Thank you for the special gift of not just this tribute but your friendship.

You are one very special lady----yes you are "The Cool One."

I will always remember the comment you shared here from Perlman.

BTW, this quote----Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another:
"What! You, too? Thought I was the only one."
came full circle for me as I saw this tribute to me from you and then your thanks to our friend Karen----we are three who get each other....and others realizing we are not the only one.

Sending you special thoughts and love.

April 14, 2007 8:05 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

Hi Ragedy, that was a lovely post, Miss Vickie is blessed to have you as a friend.

Have a great week.

April 15, 2007 1:28 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

A powerful post Raggedy.

April 15, 2007 2:36 AM  
Blogger OldLady Of The Hills said...

I love this story...I've read it before, but it bears re-reading...I LOVE ITZAK PEARLMAN, too!!!
I saw him in concert at The Music Center, many years ago and he played The Mendelson Violin Concerto---My Favorite. I was deeply deeply moved. After the concert, the people I was with new him very well and so we went backstage to his Dressing Room....I was so emotionally open that I went over to him and hugged him!!! (lol). I think he was rather startled, but very gracious....He is a great great artist and such an amazing human being. Inspirational!

April 15, 2007 2:27 PM  
Blogger OldLady Of The Hills said...

I am so embarrassed...My spelling leaves a lot to be desireed....I KNOW it is Perlman....(lol).

April 15, 2007 2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll paint you a rainbow as a gift from me,

Then hang it from heaven for the whole world to see.

On a canvas of love I'll cover your fears,

With a soft brush I'll dry all your tears.

I'll paint you a rainbow with feelings so deep,

My stroke will be gentle, my touch you may keep.

On a palette of words I will tenderly blend,

Colorful thoughts with bright verses to send.

I'll paint you a rainbow in reds, blues and gold,

Stretched like loving arms ready to enfold.

And deep in the center of the most vibrant hue,

I'll etch from memory the essence of you.

I'll paint you a rainbow, a bridge to my heart,

So loneliness and pain can begin to depart.

Just look up at the sky when life hits a bend,

I painted a rainbow for YOU.

April 16, 2007 5:57 AM  
Blogger Merle said...

Hi Raggedy ~~Great post and it's such an inspirational story. Thanks for
sharing it. I hope you had a great Easter break. I have been away for just over a week, justt catching up.
Take care, my friend, Love, Merle.

April 17, 2007 9:05 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Hi Raggedy -- Hope you're doing o.k. today [?]. :-) ;-)

April 17, 2007 10:21 AM  
Blogger Ralph said...

This is one of the most powerful posts I have read in a long, long time. Excellent. Just excellent.

April 17, 2007 4:03 PM  
Blogger Leann said...

sorry I havent been commenting lately.I have lost stings and have not been able to make music.I have felt like I didnt have anything to give.I thank you for coming and commenting even when I was under the blues of winter.
hope your doing ok my friend.this has been a long hard winter,not cause of the weather.but because Its been hard to find ones way.
hang on girl roses will bloom again,and the Lord will see you through what ever your going through.

April 17, 2007 9:42 PM  
Blogger Walker said...

Exellent post!

It shows you can work with what you have with just a little adjustment to make it the same as it always was.
I have seen him play on TV and he is amazing.

You have many good friends around you and are a good friend.

April 18, 2007 12:18 AM  
Blogger Marc & Kristy said...

Hi Raggedy, Thank you for visiting my blog. So have done a excellant job with your. Keep up with the good blogging

Marc& Kristy

April 18, 2007 2:34 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

Life is precious and we should live each day like it is our last. I too am thrilled that Vickie is doing better and I am always here when you need me. I am very grateful for your constant support and friendship. You are a special lady.

Love & lots of hugs coming your way.

April 18, 2007 11:11 AM  
Blogger Shannon akaMonty said...

What a lovely, lovely story.

I'm sorry for the hurdles you're currently facing...let me know if there's anything AT ALL I can do.

Love you bunches.

April 19, 2007 9:48 AM  
Blogger Skunkfeathers said...

Not every one is a Itzhak Perlman; which is why he is what he is.

But each person has within them the strength and determination that you've describe him exemplifying.

Not all rise to the challenge as he did.

Or as you did, with this post.

Best wishes to you.

April 19, 2007 4:47 PM  
Blogger Judy Callarman, Scrabble Has-Been said...

I have always been inspired by Itzhak Perlman. He is wonderful.

Hope your current hurdles will smooth out to small bumps very soon!

April 19, 2007 9:14 PM  
Blogger Cliff said...

Thanks for the inspiration R. You're a lovely person for doing that.

April 19, 2007 11:00 PM  
Blogger wazza said...

Gidday Raggedy,
What a great story. It brings hope to the human spirit, especially in these times when hope is needed more than it ever was. Sadly, I've never heard of Itzak Perlman, but I'm a great fan of the violin and would love to have seen and heard him.

April 20, 2007 5:20 AM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

What a wonderful post! I would love to have been with Chatter or whoever it was who was actually there and heard Perlman in that awesome moment.
How true his statement is!!
I hope the lemonade you're currently making is sweet, even if the lemons are sour. Getting good out of bad isn't often an easy thing.

April 20, 2007 4:07 PM  
Blogger Meow (aka Connie) said...

Hey Raggedy ... wow !!
Hope all is well in your world.
Thanks for continuing to visit me, even though I have been a neglectful (if busy) blogger lately.
Take care, MEow

April 21, 2007 6:14 AM  
Blogger Tammy said...

Friendship is born at that moment
when one person says to another:
"What! You, too? Thought I was the only one."
~ C.S. Lewis

I loved this quote!!!

April 22, 2007 1:52 PM  
Blogger Vickie said...

Just stopping by to let you know I am thinking of you. You are special---not just the "Cool One"

Take Care, know you are in my thoughts---I send you my love.

April 22, 2007 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely post, Raggedy. Take care of yourself, dear one. {{{Hugs}}}

April 22, 2007 10:07 PM  
Blogger eyes_only4him said...

aww, nice one...nice one:)

April 23, 2007 10:05 AM  
Blogger OldLady Of The Hills said...

Are you okay Raggedy? It's been a good while since you posted, my dear...So I'm just checking in to make sure you are okay! HUGS TO YOU!

April 24, 2007 2:03 AM  
Blogger cube said...

Hope you're OK. Haven't heard from you in a while. Miss those hugs ;-)

April 25, 2007 9:47 AM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

Just a HELLO!

I hope you are doing well.

I'm sending hugs and smiles your way. You are so good at sending hugs out to others, so you deserve a big bear squeeeeeze.

April 26, 2007 9:33 AM  
Blogger Doo Dah said...

great post!

April 26, 2007 10:24 AM  
Blogger Leann said...

Hi girl where are you?are you ok?

April 26, 2007 3:28 PM  
Blogger LZ Blogger said...

Interesting story and one that I had not heard, but I am not really surprized. He's a genius with a violin (even with only 3 strings)! ~ lz///

April 28, 2007 7:48 AM  
Blogger Kay Dennison said...

What a wonderful story of one of my favorite performers! Just goes to prove that when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade!!!

This is my first visit here == you can bet I'll be back!!!

April 28, 2007 8:21 PM  
Blogger Tamara said...

What an awesome post Raggedy.
Incredible guy!

May 01, 2007 8:06 AM  
Blogger Leann said...

miss you friend are you ok?I have checked and no post for so lest stop by and say hey Iam ok.

May 01, 2007 9:24 PM  
Blogger Merle said...

Hi Raggedy ~~ You are missed as you can see. I do hope you are all right and getting on top of any problems.
Hang in there my friend. Take care.
Much love, Merle.

May 02, 2007 2:32 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

I'm stopping by to check on you and sending you lots of love, hugs, and prayers. Let me know if you need anything!!

May 02, 2007 9:17 AM  
Blogger Gwen said...

Hi.What a wonderful post,I hope things will soon go well for you.

May 05, 2007 11:19 AM  
Blogger Hale McKay said...

Hugs to the Raggedy One! Best wishes, I hope all is well.

May 06, 2007 9:01 PM  
Blogger kuanyin333 said...

Raggedy...I love your writing style and posts, and that's why I've tagged you on my blog Blog-Blond with questions. I hope you play along. Hugs!

May 09, 2007 1:11 PM  
Blogger OldLady Of The Hills said...

Raggedy, my dear....It's been such a long time. I am concerned and a bit worried. I hope and pray you are alright, my dear....You haven't posted in such a very long time. You are missed by one & all, I know...And you are truly missed by me....! Do take care and let us know, if you can, how you are doing. HUGS HUGS HUGS!!!!

May 09, 2007 11:31 PM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

Just hello again. :)

May 10, 2007 4:13 PM  
Blogger Monica said...

I'm sorry I haven't been around. As a servicemember, you are one of the ones who knows the struggle we've been through. Yesterday, he was diagnosed with both.

Please take care of you. I miss your kitty cat look that only you can do. :)

Happy Mother's Day tomorrow.

May 12, 2007 6:46 PM  
Blogger Walker said...

Here to wish you a Happy Mothers EDay.
I hope all is well with you @-;--

May 13, 2007 10:52 AM  
Blogger Mauro C. said...


I tagged you to play in the "3 Things You Love"... a Meme created by me!

I hope that you can be part of it :)

Best regards from Portugal

May 14, 2007 3:55 PM  
Blogger Jeanette said...

Dear Raggedy Great post What a lovely friend to dedicate this post to Mis Vicki.
Hurry back we all miss you.. (((Hugs)))

May 15, 2007 4:45 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

Just dropping in to see if you have posted recently. I think about you every day and I hope you're doing OK. When you get a chance, please email me and let me know how you're doing.

Lots of hugs and love,

May 15, 2007 11:49 AM  
Blogger Monica said...

Checking on you.

May 16, 2007 7:03 AM  
Blogger Hale McKay said...

Where oh where can my Raggedy be, where oh where can she be...?

May 16, 2007 8:32 PM  
Blogger Leann said...

calling all angels,we havent seen or heard from our friend raggedy.please hold her up and help her return to her friends..she is missed and we need to know if she is ok.

we all miss you girl.please let us know if you are ok.(((((((((((((((((((HUGS)))))))))))

what ever is needed Jesus for my friend I pray you meet all her your name I pray,I speak healing and strength and faith hope and peace...amen.

May 17, 2007 11:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have been in my thoughts. I have missed your presence over at my blog. I am praying that you are ok. ((HUGS!!))

May 18, 2007 4:35 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

Where are you??!!

May 19, 2007 8:39 AM  
Blogger Joe Robinsmith said...

That was a very moving post. Brought tears to my eyes. And yes, you are so very right. That is perhaps the most concise meaning I have heard yet what each of us must do in life to make it work for us.

I am so sorry to hear that you have been struggling lately. My prayers and thoughts are with you and yours.

Keep smiling and big hugs to ya.

May 24, 2007 9:01 PM  
Blogger EV said...

Have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend, Raggedy!! ;)

May 25, 2007 6:35 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Hi Raggedy, and special HUGS TO YOU!
You are always on the giving and encouraging end of things. Now it is our turn, I have been praying for you ever since ...
HUGS TO YOU again! And again!

May 26, 2007 6:49 PM  

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