My friend Chaplain Dick Johnson tells a story of world-renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman when a string on his violin broke in the middle of a concert. The snap was heard like a gunshot in the hall. Dead silence followed. Yet, after a brief moment, Perlman nodded to the conductor to continue. Chaplain Johnson notes,
Perlman refocused and played with awesome passion, power and purity as those in attendance had never heard before. He modulated, changed, recomposed that piece of music in his head. . . . At the conclusion, there was . . .massive applause in honor of his achievement. Perlman smiled, raised the bow to quiet the audience, and said, “You know, sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left.”
Because a violin has four strings, losing one of those strings represented losing 25% of the music-making ability of that instrument. In order to go on, almost every part of the music had to be changed. That’s like life, isn’t it. Sometimes you lose a key part of your life. Your health, a spouse, perhaps the ability to earn a living the way you have done it for years. You may feel you cannot go on. All the music is gone from your life.
Yet, let’s focus on what’s left. How much music can you still make with what you have left? The prophet Habakkuk wrote,
“Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines. . . ,
and the fields yield no food. . . ,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” (Habakkuk 3:17, 18)
If Habakkuk could do it, so can we!
Richard Johnson, Shield of Faith, “Making Music,” email posted 4-26-18, accessed 4-29-18.