Talking about Sweet Music

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,

‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you,

plans to give you hope and a future. “


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These last few days have been very difficult for me, mostly because I am experiencing a wave of emotions having to do with internal issues.  I have questions about my life, past, present and future, a Christmas Carol so to speak. I have tried to give it to the Lord as each comes to the surface but at times it is soooo overwhelming and sooo hard to deal with alone. When I say alone, I mean as a single person. Thus I have decided to share openly in hopes of receiving some objective opinion.

I know God is present and I know He is listening.  What I don’t know right at this moment, is what He is thinking about it all.  And that is driving me absolutely crazy. It is the same in some of the relationships I have. In particular, ones I have made over the last several months, not knowing them very well it is hard to know what is on their mind about certain subjects.  I am for the most part a fairly patient person but tend to want to know all the different perspectives (angles) so as to understand it better.  It is my need to analyze everything and everyone that probably has me in flux.

One of the things I have been doing is visiting blogs and reading archives…trying to get a better picture of the people I am meeting and interacting with.  I have found some to be very educating, some amusing and some just plain out there (ok this last comment does not include anyone on my friends list)

I visited one space a couple of weeks ago and started reading the archives from the beginning and since I just found this space I had not read many of his recent entries.  I found myself being drawn into his life and wanting desperately to know how things turned out for him.  So being the type of reader who does not like to read the end of the book first or to know how it ends I have decided not to read any of his current blogs until I have read through his archives.   I have never read blogs this way before and I am curious as to why this is important to me.

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He is a good writer and I find myself examining myself more as I read them.  He writes openly and sincere, even raw at times.  Of course, he is a single parent so I find it intriguing to get the male view on this way of life.  Maybe this is the connection?  Whatever it may be, I have learned a great deal about myself in taking this time to explore someone else’s thoughts.  Asking myself questions and making myself answer them.  I think that his story somehow touches the universal chord of my daily life.  The struggle to survive in the mundane, the joy found in little moments, the questions asked of God and ourselves in the lonely nights, the effort it takes to move through life maintaining sanity and the act of communicating with others without losing our sense of self.  Even those you do not get along with very well.

Tonight I read a particular entry  he wrote in 2005.(see his quote below)  He wrote this about the time I was spending my 2nd Christmas in grief.  My husband  had been in prison for 21 months.  I had only been employed full time for 5 months.  We were terribly behind on everything financially and Christmas looked bleak.  I think of all the months since March of 2004 this was probably the lowest point for me.  I had much to be grateful for but for the most part it was overcast by the ache in my heart from all the loss.

The entry was very poignant to me.  He referenced the story called “The Touch Of The Master’s Hands” and then he recounted a story of a childhood experience with a violin.  A violin that was later found out to be from Germany and made sometime before WWII.  I read it several times because it struck several thoughts for me.

1st it brought back a memory to me of when I was 8.  I was living in VA with my mother and my younger sister.  We moved there after my parents divorced.  It was a rather horrible time in my life.  Being there was strange and different.  We had left pretty much everything behind a rich middle class life as I knew it.  My mother was working for minimum wage and did not receive child support so we had very little.  I went to an elementary school where you knew who the rich kids were and who the poor kids were. I was of the latter.  They had a music program there that would allow several “underprivileged” kids to take violin lessons for free.  In order to get into the program you had to take a test. I scored the exact same score as another girl and so the one slot open was for one of us. They chose her. I am not sure why they chose her but I wonder what she did with her lessons?  I am sure her life was much richer for having learned to play an instrument.  Perhaps she became a world class violinists.

Perhaps the violin in the blog I read was played by a prisoner in a concentration camp to bring some beauty in the midst of the horror.  I saw a violin sitting on the floor of a room made into a museum at the main building located in the Dachau Concentration Camp in 85 when I was stationed in Germany. Right above it was a photograph of several prisoners sitting on chairs playing stringed instruments. It was very haunting.

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2nd thought after reading this was how often do we, who have come from broken homes or failed marriages or faced the death of a dream, wondered if our life would have been any different if we had made a different choice?  I have been asked if I had known that my former husbands would betray me would I still have married them?  To say no to such a question would be to erase the existence of my children and all the joy they have brought to my life.

I believe that everything happens for a reason and is ordained by God. No, I don’t believe it was His will that my husbands would betray me but I do believe it is His will that I trust Him through it and accept the lessons taught in it.  Would knowing it have changed my being a better wife, you bet. Just as the man in the blog knowing back then that the violin had been repaired wrong might have made him want to try again at learning to play music.  So in the end instead of beating ourselves up about what might have been if we had known certain things, we have to trust that God was and is in control of every thing in our lives.

3rd thing that came to mind was the disciples at the time their Lord was being crucified.  Do you think they fully comprehended that He was doing His Father’s will?  I am not convinced they knew at the time, exactly, what His death would mean to the world. They had to be questioning and doubting themselves and God, for that matter, for they could hardly remember all He told them let alone understand it. I believe after it was all said and done they probably at one time or another wondered through their grief how they could have just stood by and watch their Lord take punishment He did not deserve.   The thought had to of crossed their mind that they could have done something to stop it.  It wasn’t until they actually seen Him after His resurrection that they realized what He had given them not only in His life but in His death.  It was then they started to understand the lessons He taught, the pain He had to suffer and the reality of who He was.  They did not get all of it in the moments they walked with him, they understood it in hind site. After all hind site is 20/20 or so it goes….

I don’t know that I would have been a good violinist if I had been allowed to take the lessons.  I may have been discouraged because of my home life or I may have thrown myself into it and become an excellent musician. Yes, my life would have been richer for that but I can’t mourn that because in faith I know it was not meant to be.  My being a better wife may not have kept my husbands from doing what they did but perhaps it could have changed my mind about myself, in thinking that I was an utter failure in keeping a man committed to me. Because, again, in faith I know that I did the best that I could, loved them with all my heart and in the end it was ultimately their choices to make.

Man has always wondered about God and His plans…they often do not make sense.  It seems we second guess Him on almost every turn.  God’s plan to bring us back into fellowship with Him was made before the foundation of the earth.  He knew in the beginning what He would have to do to accomplish this.  He also knew what tiny detail, that I would overlook, to bring me to salvation.  All things  work together for good to them who are the called according to His purpose! Even a violin lesson that was never received!

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With his permission quote from

Bonehead’s Twisted Paradise of half truths

Sweet Music

There is a story about an auctioneer who is trying to sell an old, dusty violin to an audience that is not showing any interest in the instrument when an old man shuffles to the front to clean, tune and then play the instrument to the shocked crowd. The story says that after the audience heard the beautiful music everyone wanted to own the old violin. The idea is that Christ can touch someone who appears to be worthless and make them something valuable.

I have a story about a violin as well. My story lacks a moral, and really the only similarity to the story above (called ‘The touch of the Master’s hand’ by the way) is that it involves a violin. This story took place many years ago – my children know that I grew up somewhere between Columbus and the Space Shuttle – and my faded memory of these events would put them toward the Columbus end of this range.

In my elementary school there was a school orchestra. It was not large and not talented but it did encourage students to learn about music and to practice an instrument. I was interested in joining and my mother had an old violin that was purchased by my grandmother when my mother was young. I have heard that Grandma picked up the instrument at a flea market, but I think Grandma denies this. Regardless of the origin of the instrument, having it to play made me a budding violinist.

This instrument is old and it looks old. The other instruments I saw my fellow students playing were much newer. Many of them were leased, but some were purchased new as well. I remember that it did not matter to me that the instrument I had was old. I had an instrument to play and that was all that really mattered.

In Junior High it was a different story. I was still playing my old violin but most of the other people who were in the Junior High orchestra had shiny new instruments to play. I played my instrument as best as I could but I remember being self conscious about dragging the old thing out to play. I knew that my parents could never afford a new instrument and it never even entered my mind to ask them for one. I was raised to use and use up before buying again.

It was about this time when I broke the bow. I was imitating someone else and I don’t remember what stupid thing I did with the bow but it broke. This one event leads to a snowball effect. My dad took the violin into Salt Lake to get a new bow and while there he was informed that the violin was made in Germany before WWII and that although there were some problems with it that would require it to be re-worked it was a valuable instrument. I was never allowed to touch it again. I saw the violin for the first time since breaking the bow just this week and seeing it brought back a flood of memories resulting in this story beng written here.

While I was living in Florida after High School, my parents had the instrument re-worked and allowed my old violin teacher to play it after they got it back with all the parts and pieces properly connected. His comment was that it could not be the same instrument he remembered me playing. One of the major problems with the instrument when I played it was that the sound peg that connects the front and back surfaces of the violin was on the wrong side completely. Someone had previously repaired the instrument and had bungled the job badly.

Knowing this now allows me to understand a lot about my experience playing the violin. It is interesting that my old violin was so derided and yet was probably the most valuable instrument of any instrument in my peer group. Even the best played note from that violin lacked the clarity of the other instruments because of the many problems. A better person might have been driven to succeed and have learned to over come the handicap, but I became less and less interested in playing. I was not advancing and I am sure this frustrated my teachers as much as it did me. My best efforts were unrewarding and I began to just go through the motions more and more. I thought the problem was with me.

I gave up playing the violin without any resistance, but I have since come to wish that I had continued with it. I would love to know how to play the violin today but my life leaves me little oportunity to devote to its study now. It remains on my never ending list of things I would like to learn… someday.

Perhaps this story has a moral after all. I wonder how many times we give up at something because we are handicapped without knowing it. I wonder how many times we see people flying past obstacles that seem insurmountable to us without realizing that they are using a completely different set of tools. You never know why some things are so difficult for you to master until you know the end of the story.

I misjudged myself as a lousy violinist and it was with no real sadness that I saw the instrument taken from me. I wonder how often I have made this mistake both with my life and when judging the lives of others.

* *

8 thoughts on “Talking about Sweet Music

    Good afternoon Ms. C …
    We write and share very similarly.
    I remember when Bonehead was one of my first blog readers. I think it was Mad Suburban dad who introduced me to his space.
    Last year I was having a bit of a pity party with me, myself, and I. You know what came up in my heart?
    "You can\’t change the past. So just do what you can dotoday and I will handle tomorrow."
    Have a smooth week and send some warm weather our way … Greg

    I can\’t even begin to comprehend all that you\’ve been through.  But I can remember a time in my own life when it seemed that everything about my life was stale smoke and ashes.  I would read what God with His anointing does with ashes and wondering when the beauty would come.
    In my own impetuousness, I tried to make my own beauty because I couldn\’t stand the ugliness anymore.  But all I managed to do was make a bigger mess of things.  I\’m still paying for that to this day.  But I see a light at the end of that tunnel with all that, and it has come clearly enough in view to show that it\’s not a train.  And I know that long, long, long season of living a life riddled with heaps of destruction is nearing the final conclusion. 
    Does that mean that bad things won\’t happen to my world going forward, that the hard times are over?  I know that Jesus said that in this world we would have tribulation.  What I can say is that I know that I know that I know that whatever tribulation we go through, God has put a time limit on it.  And when the gig\’s up, it\’s up forever and for good, and at the end of it is faith found in us that has been tried and found to be the purest, glimmering gold that brings forth praise, and honor, and glory at Christ\’s unveiling.
    I feel Paul\’s heartbeat when he was telling us: "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."  I\’m beginning to know exactly what he was saying there…
    Did I have to go through all those devastatingly hard, lonely, and barren times?  I honestly don\’t know.  For years I believed that a lot of it was unnecessary.  But you know what?  It doesn\’t even matter anymore.  Through it all, God has proven Himself a very present help in trouble and proven Himself to be true when He says, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."  And that is priceless.  That is precious.  It is a treasure beyond all treasures combined that can be found throughout the universe.
    I don\’t know how God takes total devastation and makes beauty of it.  I can\’t comprehend that kind of love yet.  But I\’m thankful for it nonetheless.
    There is beauty for ashes in your very near future.  God promised it.  You can count on it.
    I love you!!!
    Carol 🙂

  3. Hello my friend!!  Hope you didn\’t think I would forget you…..never!!  Read you post with great interest, compassion and understanding.  First, let me tell you how wise you are in going through the archives of new people on Spaces.  With my first space, I made the mistake of not doing enough research and found myself with people on my friends list with two different faces.  It proved to be a critical mistake and I ended up having to delete the original space and start a new one.  Lots of vulgar, malicious, self-serving and gossip entrenched people that wind up on this domain.
      As for the different perspectives you like to hear from those on your "trusted friends" list, I\’m honored to be among them and will never betray a trust.  With your permission, I\’ll gladly give you my humble opinion on any subject you choose to discuss.  Example: "I think God looks on the lost souls, the abused, the starving, the hungry and any manner of human suffering at the hands evil and He weeps."  Wanting to respect your privacy, I\’ll not go into any more detail on this public domain.  However, if you wish, we can share a dialogue through e-mail or instant messages anytime.  I do sense your pain and despair.  If needed, I\’ll be here for you with a open heart.  All I can promise is the truth as I know it.  It is good that you hear the perspectives of several people you chose to trust.  No one of us has all the answers, but combined, we all share a vast volume of wisdom simply by the grace of God.  To all who love Him, believe on His son Jesus, maintain our deepening faith and turn to Him in prayer, He will give each of us a portion of wisdom to be shared with others.  This is the meaning of "fellowship."  Seek and ye shall find.

    Good morning Ms. CShell …
    Looks like the weather is going to cooperate with warmer weather for your travels.
    I\’m very thankful that we have not received all the ice and snow like the rest of Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma.
    Travel safe and in the daylight.
    A very Merry Christmas to you all … Greg

  5. hi shell, just popping in to see how you are, havent seen you around much recently – guess this blog explains a lot.  seems the lord is doing a lot of painful but necessary work in many of us, but also satan is coming in on things.  you are a wise discerning lady and I am sure our  lord will make known to you his plan for your life, which he promises will be for prosperity and not disaster, you like me, may feel, you have had quite a few disasters already, but he also promises not to test us beyond that which we can endure.  peace and joy to you and your family, this christmas time as we celebrate together the birth of our saviour, jesus christ.  hugs nita.

    Great post!!.. Thanks for stopping by Shell. Yes, I am trying to work on my house trouble still. I hope I can fix it soon. You are right, it is not easy to find someone that trustable in his job… Thanks for the nice wishes; same to you. Cheers, Zeynep xx

  7. well its weekend againand i heave enough time to look into your blog ..nice writingand i agree to what you write. well lots of things happen and  i mneed some calm to lisztentothe voice in me . which is only god ..met some people who  was not my soul food so i  left then to get calmer  .. sometime we have to handl like tis ..wish you a NERRY CHRISTMAS dear sis  take you in my  arms and best wishes  for the new yoear   ..maybe  iam online more time because i have som holidays ..  love andrea

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