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by Janielle Beh on Monday, April 2, 2012 at 9:05am ·

I'm reading the autobiography of Gillian Helfgott, wife to the pianist David Helfgott. This man had been through the most terrible of emotional and psychological upheavals. Because of the conflicted relationship with his father, his dreams of becoming a concert pianist were shattered. Later on, beset with psychological issues and emotional trauma, he was transferred from one psychiatric ward to another. Along the way, there were people who cared for him and showed him love and kindness. But there were also just as great a handful of insensitive and self-centered individuals who abused David's childlike and sincere trust in them.

By the time he was past his forties, David Helfgott was a hopeless heap of confusion, emotional pain and mentally imbalanced. His perception of the world was 'fogged up' and he behaved eccentrically. Although he used to be a music prodigy, and still had a great affinity with the piano, his broken relationship with his father and his family, the hurtful experience of rejection and spite, had affected him so deeply that his mental perception of the world became 'foggy' and unclear. People who didn't know him would write him off as mentally unstable and physically imbalanced, with appalling manners.

Then Gillian came along, and found herself captivated by David's naivety and sincerity. He had no sense of personal space at all. David would touch people and give them hugs and kisses and talk about whatever happened to be in his stream of consciousness. He couldn't pick up on a lot of things that most 'ordinary' people would detect easily. But Gillian began to like David, and she soon committed herself to caring for him.

This is a very meaningful and insightful excerpt from Gillian's story of her life with David Helfgott in her book, Love You to Bits and Pieces:

His passion for music is inexplicable, because it is absolute. It is not merely an inclination, but an obsession. He doesn't just play because it is his vocation; he plays because when he is at the piano he is ecstatic, and playing for others is especially gratifying. This passion for music is a divine gift. 'I was put on earth to play, darling, to play,' he would say. And what right do I, or anyone, have to tamper with David's passion?

Yes, one could teach him the value of money and how to spend it with care. One could force him to perform a mass of routine daily tasks. One could give him enough medication that shops and crowded streets would not bother him. In short, one COULD make him into a regular member of society, but then his time would be taken up with doing all the little tasks that regular members of society do,, and he'd be robbed of his passion to play, each and every day of his life. It wouldn't be difficult to try and 'adapt' him to some arbitrary standard of normality, but then David would no longer be David and, by destroying the individual, one would risk destroying his magic.

One day at Riccardo's, after David finished an extremely passionate rendition of a Beethoven Sonata, a woman came to my table and, in a condescending tone, said, 'I do hope you treat David as if he is normal.'

'I trust I never bring him down to that level,' I replied. I will always fight for David's right to STAY EXTRAORDINARY and do whatever's necessary to protect him from any pressures to conform.'

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Hey Janielle, so glad to see you post up some real good stuff after a long pause. =D I always enjoy your writings because they are so insightful; often a good wake-up call on life from perspectives I wouldn't have thought to view from myself. Continue to glorify God through the expression of your thoughts too. =)

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