I don't know his affliction, but I do know one of his gifts.
He performed at a recent music night at The Arts Alliance Center at Clear Lake in the open mic phase. He was invited by the leader of the band performing there to play a tune, and the man was described by the leader as "one of the richest people I know." The man made his way slowly and deliberately to the microphone; he had to because of maneuverability issues for his electric wheelchair among the many folding chairs for the attendees. It was clear that his condition involved more than just an inability to walk, based on his body movements. Once to the mic, he made a few opening comments that drew a chuckle or two, and he introduced his song, "If I Were a Rich Man" from Fiddler on the Roof.
Then he began to whistle the tune. The entire tune. All five-plus minutes of it. With a full range of notes. His whistled smoothly, strongly, beautifully. The room was totally silent as his breath turned into notes. The musicians, with their bass, drums, guitar and saxophone stood silent. The crowd sat silently. And when he finished, he drew the only standing ovation of the night.
As he wheeled away, I considered the many types of richness in life, and the importance of looking for gifts instead of noticing afflictions.
PS: I'm happy to say that as the president of The Arts Alliance Center at Clear Lake, I'm proud of events like music night. We are also undergoing a membership drive, so whether you're in the community or not, please support this type of richness by clicking here.
Listen to Life is a free newsletter about learning and getting more from life by paying attention to our own stories and the stories of others, based on the presentations, writings, photography and workshops by Dion McInnis (www.dionmcinnis.com). Copyright 2010 Dion McInnis. All rights reserved.