Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Yet

I'm momentarily blinded by the incredulity of Scott's statement. Did he just say, "Look, I'm not a singer. I play bass. That's it. I can't sing."

The whole rehearsal room goes into slow motion like the shootout at the end of Bonnie and Clyde. The conversation carries on around me. I process what Scott said. I've heard him sing. He sings well. He blends well with other harmonies. He sounds great. He's just what we've needed. I've got recordings to prove it. He might as well have said, "Look guys, I've been having trouble with singing ever since the Swedish people started sneaking out of my closet at night and eating parts of my brain."

Something else must be going on. Out of the darkness, I hear Scott say something like, "I just don't want to let you guys down."

Let us down? What does he think he's doing by unilaterally determining that he "can't" sing. It's a cold slap on the face that revives me from my incredulity-induced blindness. My senses go into hyperdrive. My perspective swings around the situation like the camera's eye swinging around Keanu as he bends impossibly backwards to duck bullets shot at him by the agents of the Matrix. I think, "Ah... he's using manipulation. 'It's not you, it's me'. Why doesn't he just say,  'I don't want to take the time to learn this because I'm too busy' or 'I don't care what you guys want; I'm not going to do it.'"

My blindness dissipated, lenses made red by lack of integrity slowly drop down over my eyes. I'd better go get some caffeine to calm me down.

I slow my breathing and close my eyes.

I hear Scott say, "I just can't do it."

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

"Can we add the word 'yet' to that?"

What was that? Who said that?

"Let's just say that you can't do it, yet."

It's Will.  Yes, that's it. "I can't do it, Y-E-T, yet."

I look over at Will who's looking at Scott who's looking at Will saying something like, "Uh... Um..."

I head to the kitchen to make some coffee.

I hear the conversation continue. A few moments later Iris walks into the kitchen to make some tea. She smiles at me as she reads my mind. "It's the really talented ones who never learn what it means to try", she says.

I look up at her and say, "Huh?"

"Your heard me."

"Yeah, you're right. If you're as gifted as Scott is, things that don't come right away seem impossible."

She smiles and says, "Not possible, yet."

"Yeah, not possible, yet."

Playing with Quinn nearly every day, Iris has become an expert on 'yet'. She knows the profound impact the little word can have when it becomes deeply lodged in one's being. She's had a front row seat as Quinn has worked through the simultaneous challenges of autism and epilepsy. She's seen him work to exhaustion trying to get a handle on a newly learned skill, literally falling asleep at his litte table as he continues to try to get it.

For Quinn, there's no impossible, there's just difficult and even 'difficult' is transient. There are things he can do now, and things he can't do yet.

I return to the incredulity of "I can't do that." You might as well bring aliens, time-travel and infinite-improbability drives into the explanation. It's a criminally incredulous statement. Perhaps it and its cousin, "You can't do that" should be outlawed. Or perhaps they should be like apple pie served at restaurants in Wisconsin which must always be accompanied by a slice of cheddar cheese. The words "can't do that" should always be followed by the word 'yet'.

I can't do that, Y-E-T, yet. I don't understand that, Y-E-T, yet. I don't feel like it, Y-E-T, yet.

What would happen if we all worked to intertwine the word 'yet' round all the fibers that form the fabrics of our beings. What if, no matter how impossible something felt in the moment, the word 'yet' were to burn so brightly that it would dissipate all the ensuing fog?

Happy Wednesday,
Teflon

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