18 April 2010


The Gospel at Mass today (Sunday 18 April) was from the 21st chapter of John.  In it, Jesus, after asking Peter if he loves Jesus, says:
Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.  Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.”
Father Peter expounded a bit on the sometimes-upsetting way in which the unexpected can come into our lives, with consequent effects on our plans - and on the fact that these, too, are a part of God's Providence, just as much as the time that things seemed to work together to help us achieve those plans.

This rather resonated with me at present.

No, I do not suppose that the loss of control of my lower lip is likely to lead to my martyrdom - and the Gospel tells us that is what Jesus was alluding to in Peter's case.  Nevertheless, I find my depth of emotion rather striking as I contemplate the possibility that - with that quite unexpected accident - my horn-playing days may, indeed, be over.

Or maybe not.

The accident was less than three weeks ago (it happened on 30 March).  Minor injuries from it (a scratch here, a bruise there) are all but healed.  The centre of the lower lip is still numb.  When I try to play the horn my tone is unstable and my range limited.  There is a horizontal ridge of scar tissue (where, I suppose, my teeth cut into the lip).  But it is very early days yet.

I have told the orchestra people that they must not count on me for the June concert.  They are trying to find a substitute now.  If I can, I want to be what is called a 'bumper' - a person who plays the same part as the first horn in order to relieve the first player of having to play really loud in some parts, and things like that.

My concern is that - even if my control returns eventually - if the time is too long, they will have found it necessary to replace me.  There is little likelihood of my playing in any other orchestra around, because of time and venue issues.  And if I am unable to play for, say, six months, it is going to take quite some time to get back into shape.  We shall see.

So I found Father's homily on the effect of the unexpected interruption in our lives to be quite ... intriguing :-)

The accident has had an additional effect, which is not all bad.  Two effects, actually.

First, when I explained to our insurer how the accident had happened - and that I had been using the 'van to deliver Susan's papers - they raised a red flag immediately: commercial use.  Thankfully, they accepted the claim, since I didn't know at the time that would be an issue, and because at the time of the accident I had actually abandoned the paper run and was trying to get home.  But we have had to change the cover.  The cost is twice what it was - and the coverage is more limited (market value rather than replacement cost).  Never mind!  It is a good thing to get this straight.  It could have had dire consequences in other circumstances.

Second, of course, we have had to replace the 'van.  That has been something that has been looming for some time.  The written-off 'van was a 1989 Toyota TownAce (that's not the car itself, but that's what it looked like).  Its days were numbered.  Rust was threatening to be a problem with the Warrant of Fitness.  Other things were showing up.

We have had to borrow significantly, but I knew that would happen.  We are now the owners of a 2000 Toyota Estima (again, that's someone else's car).  When the dealer suggested it to me on the 'phone, I misunderstood the model - I admit I was a bit surprised.  I hadn't known they were still making them :-)  This is the newest car we have ever owned!

I am back to work tomorrow, after a very eventful three and half weeks.  I look forward to a rest :-)

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