Sunday, September 20, 2009


There is only one thing I've ever really been good at, and that's loving. I'm not persistent enough to be a scholar, not ruthless enough to be a poet, not disciplined enough to be an engineer, and not outgoing enough to be a teacher.

I love, though, all animals and all people: there are very few of God's creatures for whom I can't find passionate admiration. This makes me a pleasant fellow to be around, no doubt, but it doesn't fit me for many sorts of employment. Hence the blessing of massage: all that's really required of me, beyond a modicum of skill and a smattering of anatomical knowledge, is that I be able to devote a couple of hours, at the drop of a hat, to physically loving and admiring somebody, appreciating their tension and grief, absorbing their suffering and working to transform it, in the obscure laboratory of my hands, into well-being. For me this is an easy thing to do. All my life I've wanted to lay hands on people. All my life I've felt that I had the gift of easing pain with my hands, and not be able to use it distressed me.

It's very odd to now be making a living from it. As if I were making a living by eating cake, or by reading P.G. Wodehouse. This is all I ever wanted to do: to lay on hands, to be together with people quietly and tend them lovingly.

And what was, only three years ago, completely impossible, is now my livelihood. I don't understand why I should be granted this extraordinary good fortune, why I, at an age when most people are beginning to give up on their dreams, should have mine delivered to me on a platter. My luck seems to me, as it always has, uncanny. But I'll take it.

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