…Great violinist Itzhak Perlman had polio as a child and walks with crutches and braces on both legs. Instead of arranging to be seated on stage at the beginning of his performance, he chooses to walk across the stage methodically and slowly to his chair. Then he sits down, puts his crutches on the the floor, undoes the clasps on his legs, bends down, picks up the violin, nods to the conductor and proceeds to play.
In 1995, a string on Perlman’s violin suddenly snapped in concert, and everyone in the audience heard it. The great virtuoso stopped and gazed at the broken string….those in attendance wondered what he would do. Perlman closed his eyes and signaled the conductor to begin again…..Perlman recomposed the piece in his head as he went along, inventing new fingering positions to coax never before-heard sounds from his three stringed violin.
The sophisticated New York audience watched and listened in awe, knowing they were witnessing a truly groundbreaking performance. When the piece was over, Mr. Perlman smiled, wiped the sweat from his brow, and said in a soft 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.”
~Excerpt from A Place of Healing by Joni Eareckson Tada