it's been ten years...

It’s been ten years. But there are things that only get more beautiful with time. Like true friendships, well-constructed castles, a carefully hand-crafted violin, and most of all, God’s unconditional love. This has been a weekend of reunions. It started with a need my treasured violin had for some TLC... and I could think of no one better than its maker, its creator, to take care of it for me.

I am so humbled by the kindness of my friend Cynthia, whose family so graciously gave me a home while I was back in our former town. It was only three short months ago that the ball started rolling for this trip back in time, in a way. I was in the middle of a show I had played many a time, and truth be told, was in automatic pilot. My thoughts were on the condition of my violin, how much I had played it, and the repairs it needed. When I got home that night, after having pounded yet more notes out of my beloved instrument, I sent the email that started everything.

God opened the doors, but Cynthia turned the knob. She agreed to talk to those who would make it possible for me to perform... do what I love... while I was back. I would not have been able to live with myself if I had not at least explored the possibility of playing for my former church. So after jumping through a few hoops (probably more than I realize), the plans were in place for me to play in all of the Sunday services... and to help plan them. What a dream come true...

To say I had a great trip is an understatement. To say I enjoyed myself would be true, but not complete. I’m not sure there are words to describe the feeling of going back to a place you have not been in more than ten years, but where so many memories were created. Such as some of the first places Tim and I lived, to having both our sons at the local hospital, to working on the Air Force base and in the city, to achieving a Master’s Degree at the University... As I flew in from the south, the huge ‘U’ made itself visible on the side of the mountain, and it felt like I was ‘back.’ Not home... not anymore, but ‘back.’

The violin shop is a place I would call ‘heaven on earth.’ It was one of my favorite places when I was in my graduate program, and it hadn’t changed at all. Neither had Peter Prier... the beloved maker of my beloved violin. He started a violin-making school back in 1972, right in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City. When I asked him why he started the school, he simply said, ‘Because there wasn’t one.’ His love of violin-making is more than evident. The first thing he did was look at my violin. His awe was that I had played the life out of the violin to such a degree. 250,000 hours was his estimate. Wow. Actually, when I picked it up, he said he had never seen a fingerboard in such terrible condition! I guess you could say I don’t mess around. During the course of the weekend, my son, Dillon, asked me what had broken on my violin... I told him that it is a little bit like when you drive your car a lot. Sometimes it needs an oil change, and sometimes it needs some repairs done so it can go for the next several thousand miles.

The next task was to find a ‘loaner’ that would be a worthy substitute during the time mine was in the shop. Peter asked me what kind of tone I was looking for, and I told him, ‘A combination of warm and bright.’ His response was, ‘That will be most difficult.’ The first violin he pulled from his collection on the wall was definitely warm... but not bright. The sound was small. Meanwhile, he had pulled a second one, and this one was an Italian violin made by Antonio Casini... it was a perfect blend of warm and bright with a voice that told us all that it was the one, after two notes. He then gave me a tour of the recital hall located just next door from the shop, as well as his personal workshop, which receives the morning sun, helping to cure the beautiful artistry of the instruments he makes so skillfully. As I admired his handiwork, Peter’s words were, ‘I have an amazing field.... I love making violins.’ I had no words, just eyes welling up. So he spoke instead of me. ‘You love what you do too.’ I could only nod. To reconnect with such a friend was a beautiful thing, and was only the beginning of what was to be a weekend, each day holding something different, but all covered with God’s favor.

Saturday morning was extremely special. A choir retreat just happened to be on the calendar for the church where my former worship leader, for whom I was the assistant many years before, was rehearsing his choir for Easter. There were many people I was able to see when Leon asked me to share and play, and again, I watched as God used the music, a vehicle he created for His spirit to work in hearts. I never stop wondering at His ability to take the notes and create something so moving from it.

Everything seemed absolutely surreal, maybe because the trip was only a few months in the making, and every step so orchestrated by God. It was wonderful to renew friendship with Cynthia and her family, and to experience their hospitality. I am still overwhelmed. From the time with Peter, the loaner, the lunch, the rehearsal ... to a choir retreat, to an open house, to the blessed church services on Sunday... wonderful food, too many delicious meals to mention them all, and a special trip by train to get sushi in the city... It was all an amazing blend of warmth and brightness in its own right.

Yesterday I got my violin back just before going to the airport. How do I desribe this? It was as if the soul of the violin jumped into mine... It was beautiful, warm, bright, and with the spunk of its infancy... but with the seasoning of many notes being played on it. An old soul, of sorts. I suppose the look on my face said it all. I didn’t see it, but those who were there are my witnesses. Perhaps a mix of peace, joy and wonder? I’ll never know for sure.



2 comments

  • Cynthia Breen

    Cynthia Breen

    What a wonderful time of reunion and refreshment it was to have you at Washington Heights and as a guest in our home. You were missed the moment we said good-by. As I was preparing for a devotional for the choir yesterday, I was re-reading a portion of the book "Lifegiving...Discovering the Secrets to a Beautiful Life" by Tammy Maltby. These words were an affirmation of the beautiful moments we shared. I hope they bless you today. "How will you know when you have met a livegiving woman? Well, it goes something like this. When she speaks, you do not go away licking your wounds from a hurtful word. Instead, even her everyday words seem to be infused with lifegiving power and encouragement. When she does a good deed, you do not feel the heavy weight of obligation to return the favor. Instead, you are inspired to do something lovely in return. When she is with you, you will never feel a cold shoulder, because she brings warmth and acceptance into your life. When you are around her, you don't feel overwhelmed by who she is. Instead, you feel inspired to be who you were meant to be. When you walk away from her, you don't feel discouraged by her accomplishments compared to yours. Instead, you walk away motivated to do what you never thought possible. Do you know a lifegiving woman? If you do, then you understand that she has brought love and warmth into your life. She has inspired you to do what you never thought possible. She has encouraged you to reach out and take risks. She has refreshed you with living water when the well of your life has run dry." And so dear friend...I know I have been with a livegiving woman because I experienced all those blessings and so much more. And I know you are a vessel of THE Life Giver. I eagerly anticipate our next time together and pray that it will be soon. Blessings, Peace and Love to you... Cynthia

    What a wonderful time of reunion and refreshment it was to have you at Washington Heights and as a guest in our home. You were missed the moment we said good-by.
    As I was preparing for a devotional for the choir yesterday, I was re-reading a portion of the book "Lifegiving...Discovering the Secrets to a Beautiful Life" by Tammy Maltby. These words were an affirmation of the beautiful moments we shared. I hope they bless you today.

    "How will you know when you have met a livegiving woman?
    Well, it goes something like this.
    When she speaks, you do not go away licking your wounds from a hurtful word. Instead, even her everyday words seem to be infused with lifegiving power and encouragement.
    When she does a good deed, you do not feel the heavy weight of obligation to return the favor. Instead, you are inspired to do something lovely in return.
    When she is with you, you will never feel a cold shoulder, because she brings warmth and acceptance into your life.
    When you are around her, you don't feel overwhelmed by who she is. Instead, you feel inspired to be who you were meant to be.
    When you walk away from her, you don't feel discouraged by her accomplishments compared to yours. Instead, you walk away motivated to do what you never thought possible.
    Do you know a lifegiving woman?
    If you do, then you understand that she has brought love and warmth into your life. She has inspired you to do what you never thought possible. She has encouraged you to reach out and take risks. She has refreshed you with living water when the well of your life has run dry."

    And so dear friend...I know I have been with a livegiving woman because I experienced all those blessings and so much more. And I know you are a vessel of THE Life Giver.

    I eagerly anticipate our next time together and pray that it will be soon.

    Blessings, Peace and Love to you...
    Cynthia

  • Roger

    Roger

    I so enjoyed sharing a row with you on the flight out of SLC to Denver. The trip was far too short. I hope to see you play some time soon. I will keep an eye on your website for tour dates. Good luck.

    I so enjoyed sharing a row with you on the flight out of SLC to Denver. The trip was far too short. I hope to see you play some time soon. I will keep an eye on your website for tour dates. Good luck.

Add comment