Monday, September 24, 2012


Two things to talk about, today.

Thing 1: I spent the day with some organ builders, looking at an organ that I used to play, and that I (along with one of said organ builders) helped renovate. When I was last an organist at that church, it was working; it isn't now. The expert assessment of the instrument, about it's cause for non-playability:

The electrical system is bad. In another word, its nervous system is bad.

Well, I certainly know about that. Art imitates life. Or, more precisely in this case, life imitates life.

Thing 2: I spent some time yesterday talking with another friend from Long Ago. I first met him in 1985 when he was just a 9th grader; he's now a father of two, he has both a Ph.D. and a J.D., and a whole bunch of other very impressive accomplishments. He, apparently, had the same contretemps with The Academy as I had with my now-former employer, and we both had a great deal of sympathy for each other. And many a story that ended "Yup. I know what that feels like."

But one thing he said to me, I really want to share with my fellow M.S.ers: I told him that I was sad about what I was no longer able to do, specific thing upon specific thing upon thing that I used to be able to do, but for long list of reasons specific to each Thing, my experience of The Disease was preventing me from accomplishing said Thing. And how I felt that I wasn't able to—and there are the words I used with him and that I use a lot, nowadays—"accomplish anything."

I told him about a couple of other things I was involved in at the moment, and for which in my (I suppose I must be honest, perhaps at least a little over-inflated) opinion, I wasn't doing much (again, my words)...

And he stopped me, and said, "You're still making a difference."

So these are my words of encouragement for my fellow travelers on the Neurological Highway. "Difference" matters to the person for whom the difference is made. Your—my—opinion about its size means nothing. My friend still remembers one sentence I said to him, years ago, I don't even remember when I said it (but he certainly does); and he stressed how much difference it made to him, and that I was the only person who ever said something that encouraging to him.

So, my friends... pardon my language, but fuck this disease. You are still making a difference.

Your, and my, misbehaving nervous system is an irritant, but it means nothing. The difference that you make in someone's life is precisely the difference that they need made for them. The size of the difference that you perceive, the means and methods that you (I) use now, are different than they were, and that's where we get hung up. But none of those matter.

What we perceive as what we do for others doesn't matter.

The difference we make in their lives does.

1 comment:

Muffie said...

Truly words to live by! I'll try to remember them when I start to metaphorically beat myself up. Isn't it great when we learn that former students remember something good we did for them?