Saturday, August 14, 2010

"There's no rule that the piano can only be played with hands."

Lately I've been thinking about the amazing resilience of the human spirit. Whenever I contemplate any of the terrible things that might befall me, I always think, "I don't know if I could survive that." But when disasters actually strike, many people not only adapt, but even rise above their circumstances. Reader's Digest magazine is full of stories like those.

When I hear or read such stories, it always makes me wonder: if that were me, what would I have done? Would I have been able to hang on to hope? To remain cheerful, and not allow bitterness to consume me? Would I have persevered through sheer doggedness, or given up because it was so frustrating and painful? These are questions I suspect most of us pray we'll never have to confront face-to-face.

Watching this video this afternoon, I was amazed all over again. I play the piano and I can't imagine how this young man did it with his toes! But it's not just that. It's the fact that he's doing something nobody would have thought of, that people believed was impossible. In a newspaper interview, he said his first piano teacher quit, because the teacher didn't believe it was possible for anyone to play with toes. And indeed, he's limited because his toes can't stretch to play keys that are far apart, but he's developed his own style of playing to make up for that limitation.

On the show, he told the judges, "[After I lost my arms] I had two choices: to simply die a quick death, or to live a wonderful life." I like that thought, because that's a choice all of us can make for ourselves. Live a wonderful life.

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