A red-leaf Japanese maple tree, in my backyard.
Last summer, it got completely fried by the heat. Its beautiful foliage completely burned away. All that was left was a skeleton, with a vaguely sort-of green trunk.
And now... it has burst into red leaves again.
It's not what it once was; you can still see the "skeleton" of what it used to be, of what used to hold quite stunningly beautiful foliage. But along the trunk, you can see that it is quite enthusiastically covered with leaves.
What is the tree doing? Making the best of what it has; shedding not a drop of its lifeblood on the old, dead branches, but pouring it all into wherever it can grow, and gather light; and its new growth starts not at the ends of dried out, broken limbs, but on its trunk, at its core.
How is this not a living parable, a living sermon, for not just MS sufferers, but for humanity?
- Don't waste any energy on what was and what can't be. Put all your strength into what you can do.
- Don't rebuild starting at the ends and the edges. Build from your core, from your center.
And I heard the processional, Parry's "I was glad." I've performed that piece, both in the choir and on the organ, and I've loved it every time; but that choir, and that organ, and that wonderful, wonderful room, created music that is guaranteed to touch... to transform... the soul.
And that's what I'm about. Transforming the soul. That's my kind of music, the marvel that is high-church golden-age Episcopalian cathedral music. I don't even care whether or not it's performed in a cathedral (nice though it is when it happens). I just love it.
And I sat, and I listened, and I wept.
And I was transformed. Renewed.
My legs still don't work. I'm barely able to walk, I certainly can't play the organ pedal board, I can't even stand up for very long. All sorts of things are still still malfunctioning, thanks to my neurological nonsense.
But my soul... is renewed.
My soul has been battered, for quite a while. Dark, and sad. Today... it's full of light. I spent the day writing music, even!
Don't know how long it'll last. Or even if it'll last.
Don't care. Because now... the light, the clear, radiant light... is beautiful.