Jonathan Sacks tells this story about Itzhak Perlman.
Born in 1945, Perlman contracted polio when he was four years old. Since then, he has had to wear metal braces on his legs. He walks with crutches. Over the years, Perlman became one of the most celebrated violinists of our time. He has performed all over the world.
At one concert, Itzhak Perlman came out on stage to play a violin concerto. He lay down his crutches, placed the violin under his chin, and began to tune the instrument. A crack sounded forth, audible to many in the audience. One of the strings had snapped. Rather than sending for a new string, Perlman signaled for the orchestra conductor to begin and then went on to play the concerto using the three remaining strings on his violin. Once the concerto was over, the audience rose up in applause and called on Perlman to speak. What he said was this: “Our task is to make music with what remains.”
The Rev. Charles Hoffacker is a retired priest of the Diocese of Washington