A girl like me does not play violin. I am fighting vission-loss in both eyes, soaking in a world’s sounds with severe hearing loss and trying to fit-in with a short right arm. Yet, in junior high I found myself practicing violin. I would dread the nightly routine of trying to make logical sense of these awkwardly shaped dots called “music.” Why not just play it for me? Play it, don’t spell it out. As I positioned the body of the violin under my chin, my eyes glared at the strings. My bow would need to glide evenly and quickly over the strings in order for this instrument to sound even half-decent…even for a middle school student.
I would tighten my right fingers around the bow, bight my lip (literally) and force my shoulder to rise to the challenge of perfection. There were nights I endured pain due to my effort to play this instrument a girl like me had no business playing. I glued rubber around the grip of the bow in order to hold it as best as I could. I literally played the same note, pushing my arm across the furthest string in order to memorize how my painful stretch felt to hit that note.
Yet, when I played the music I heard in my heart, I smiled. I would sway back and forth. My fingers would dance and a joy would appear in the midst of the pain. I loved making up my own songs. It’s why I played.
Then things changed a bit.
During a weekly practice, I found myself standing back-to-back with my orchestra instructor as my mom was looking on. He preceded to play a few notes on his violin instructing me to remain forward. Unable to see his finger placements, he stopped and gently said, “Ok Bethany, your turn.”
I am a girl with severe hearing-loss. This to some may seem absurd, but wait…
I immediately played every note back, in correct rhythm and sequence.
As he played a longer melody, me curiosity grew and my excitement to seize the moment took hold of every attempt I made to breathe.
I watched as my fingers danced infront of my eyes…almost as if they were moving on their own.
This continued six more times…yes friend, I counted. Even after a brief hiccup finger slip on my last echo, I redeemed myself.
Truthfully, even today I struggle reading music. The dots and lines don’t compute with the way God wired me. But I can play almost anything by ear. In fact, leave me alone with a piano and I can be content finger plucking melodies for hours. My heart beats faster, my soul turns and my smile is inevitable.
I’ve since sold my violin. I know, but the drum seemed like my next best choice. Simple patterns I can read and play by ear, – it’s the best of both worlds. I taught myself how to play a drum set, even with my “impairments” as most call them.
As I look back now, I see God all over this frozen moment in time. Even though so many students around me doubted my abilities, God never did…my instructor never gave-up either. No, the pieces didn’t quite line-up right, but I was wired for this very page turn in my life. God was showing Himself to me and I completely missed it…but I guess we miss many obvious signs during those pre-teen years.
So today, as I write and speak, I experience this moment in time all over again. I offer up my best attempt to echo His perfect tune and in sync with Him it sounds awesome. He uses our little painful moments of misfit offerings to play a song with us that will remain playing in changed hearts forever. You are making a difference. Keep playing for Him and with Him my precious friend.