The Rev. Eugene Stockstill

A few notes from history, along with a takeaway.

When the composer Beethoven had gone deaf, he sawed off the legs of his piano and used the floor as a sounding board. He would put his ear to the floor, pound the keys and identify vibrations with notes.

“The Butterfly and the Bell Jar” is an exquisite memoir written by Jean-Dominique Bauby, a French journalist who suffered a stroke and then a kind of paralysis known as locked-in syndrome. An amanuensis took dictation from him, as Bauby blinked his thoughts into print.

“The best and most beautiful things cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart,” said Helen Keller, who could neither see nor hear and who admitted that she knew Mark Twain had come to visit her because she could smell his pipe tobacco.

Twenty publishers rejected Frank Hebert’s opus “Dune” before Chilton Book Company picked it up and it went on to become a universal smash.

The basketball player Larry “Legend” Bird couldn’t run fast or jump high or dunk well, but he managed to amass the sort of statistics and reputation that, on paper, would make you think he could do all three better than anyone else. “Push yourself again and again. Don’t give an inch until the final buzzer sounds.”

Church after church refused to allow Anglican reformer John Wesley to fill the pulpits in their buildings. How did he get across his message of holiness? He wound up preaching outdoors.

When he died (according to the gospels), Jesus Christ may have thought himself to be a complete failure. But you may recall that the story didn’t end on the cross.

Application? Don’t give up. “Let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9).

The Rev. Eugene Stockstill is pastor of Ebenezer United Methodist Church and Myrtle United Methodist Church in Union County.

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