The conductor’s art

On a winding mountain road, I was driving my elderly friend’s car. He knew every part of the route and with little hand signals was telling me when to slow down, accelerate, and when to proceed with caution. I was following these often barely perceptible signs out of the corner of my eye, and was totally absorbed in the effort to understand him, and to drive the way he would have driven. I imagined him to be the conductor of an orchestra, who was very happy when I managed to perform my part perfectly.

That evening Massimiliano, a friar from a long established friary, phoned me. For some time he had been having difficulties with his superior, and he told me that he had no more energy to deal with it, and had decided to leave the friary.

I told him my story about the conductor and the orchestra, and realised that he was listening in deep silence. Then he said, “Maybe my mistake was to expect something from my superior. But he cannot play my instrument, he cannot take my place. All he can do is help me to be in harmony with the others! I have to take up my instrument again, accept my responsibilities and show my talent as part of the overall harmony.” He then began to cry.

At the end of the call, I realised that an idea that came from an act of love had released a ray of light that someone, somewhere, was waiting for.

(T.M, Czech Republic)

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