Saturday, June 4, 2011


Tomorrow, I play a commencement show. I'm playing the organ, and conducting from the console.

Both things I've done many times before. This particular show, I've done thirty-seven times before. I have the best brass players in L.A. backing me up. I expect that everything will be fine.

And yet, I think... I've shifted from "anticipatory adrenaline shock" to "terror." Quiet, but still terror.

Because as many times as I've played this gig, I've never played this organ, and this gig, with next to zero control of my legs.

Yesterday, I had a wonderful dinner with a wonderful fellow who had, and has recovered from, his own neurological disaster--a cerebral hemorrhage, I think it was (something quite serious). He said that it made him unable to edit video as he always had before... but he learned how to do it, all over again, and he actually felt like he was better at it from having gone through the experience.

I wonder if I'll feel that way about my M.S. tomorrow, after the gig is over. Rationally, I'm completely sure that I'll be able to do just fine.

But I'm terrified.

I'll get back to you after the show and let you know how it went.

Damn it, I know there's a gift in this, somewhere; a gift that I could only receive for living through the show, M.S. and all. If I only keep my mind, heart, and spirit open to receive it.

Just because I'm sure it's there doesn't mean I'm not terrified.

In approximately 23 hours and 30 minutes, the hardest part (the processional) will be over. The recessional, that's easy; I conduct and play the cymbals. It's the improvisatory "how long will it take them to get into the building" that I'm worried about. The sort of thing that wedding organists--which I once was--do all the time. It's not part of the job, it's part of the fun.

And I think I'm actually terrified.

I've felt (or tried to keep from feeling) many things, on my road with M.S. This terror, somehow I can't deny.

I wonder if being forced to live with the terror isn't, actually, one of the gifts that I've needed to receive... not just to receive, but to embrace.

Damn this disease. Making me confront things I never wanted to confront. Just because life is like that anyway doesn't make this any easier.

I'm gonna go hide now. A qi gong treatment tomorrow a few hours before the show, will (I really, really hope) help me through it. So, perhaps, will thirty-seven years of experience, who knows?

And no matter what happens... I always bring cookies to the tech crew at the auditorium at which we hold the commencement.

The organist, having done this show dozens of times, is THIS time, terrified. And still, he brings cookies.

If I can still see the humor in the situation... I'll definitely make it through.

I'll let you know how it went.


Peace Be With You said...


I hope your day has gone as well as can be expected. I think it says a lot about you that, despite your own challenges, you are taking cookies for others.


nicole said...

Great post.