I received the story below the other day. I hope you will find it to be as meaningful as I did.
As many of you know, Itzhak Perlman is a famous violinist who contracted polio as a young boy. As a result, he walks with great difficulty an with the aid of crutches. One day, Perlman was scheduled to give a recital at Carnegie Hall. As usual, he came onto the stage with crutches, laboriously walking to his seat. A few bars into the concerto, one of his violin strings broke with a loud popping sound. The conductor stopped the orchestra, and the audience held its collective breath as it waited to see what would happen next. would someone appear from backstage with a new violin? Would Perlman pull a new violin string out of his pocket? Instead, after a short pause, he nodded to the conductor to resume where he had left off.
The common wisdom is that it is not possible to play a violin with three strings. That
evening, Perlman refused to know this. He played the entire concerto on three strings. When the concerto ended, the audience rose with thunderous applause, clapping and stomping and shouting. When the audience finally quieted down, he said, "It is the artist's task to find out how much music you can make with the instrument that you have."
Survivorship is about living life fully with changed instruments: changed bodies, changes psyches, and changed perceptions. We all emerge with difficulties different than we were. Many of us are not as resilient. We may be changed physically or have an altered perception of our vulnerability and sense of mortality. The challenge is to figure out how to live as loudly, fully, and richly as we can.
If you, too, are coping with a challenge, follow the example of Itzhak Perlman. Rather than waste time with regrets, use your energy to make something good - something positive - out of the situation.