My thoughts this morning turn to finding strength in my weakness.
I was working with clients over the weekend. One of them talked about how he felt weak and that he wanted to go back and be strong how he used to be.
I said, "Wait, don't try to go backward to find that strength. Look forward to the strength you will find as you move through this time of weakness. That is where we find our strength, when we feel the most weak and vulnerable. We have to go through each step, good and bad, in order to find ourselves."
Then, I talked to them about my violin. It is an old instrument, from 1872. I have owned it since I was nine years old. It had a beautiful sound. About 20 years ago, I was walking with it down a flight of stone steps. I stumbled. It fell and cracked. My heart broke along with it. I took it to Violin House of Weaver (now Potter's Violins), which is one of the best Violin Houses in the world.
"We'll take care of it," they promised. "You won't be able to tell the difference."
I had my doubts but I left it with them. In the meantime, to prepare for upcoming gigs a friend was kind enough to lend me his violin while mine was being repaired.
During that time, burglars broke into our house and stole a bunch of stuff. They stole my friend's violin. We tried in vain to find it at local pawn shops, but we never did. Luckily, we had insurance and while we weren't able to retrieve his violin, we were at least able to get him money for it. I still feel badly about that, but there was nothing we could have done to prevent it.
Meanwhile, my violin was still being repaired. In my heart of hearts, I knew it would never sound the way it had. I knew it would forever be broken, but I waited it out until the day came to go pick it up.
"Play it," the man behind the counter encouraged me.
I ran the bow across the strings and it was magic! The instrument sounded better than it had before.
"How did you do that?" I asked as I put my lovely violin away.
"The glue we use now works with the fibers of the wood on a molecular level," he replied. "It fills the cracks perfectly and then vibrates with them the way the wood itself would. Like a broken bone, where it was shattered will now be stronger than before. You lost monetary value when you dropped it, but you haven't lost the instrument."
I thanked him, and I left.
It was only much later that I realized that if I hadn't dropped the violin, I would indeed have lost it and sooner than I thought. If it hadn't been in the shop when it was, it would have been the violin stolen when the burglars broke in. Instead, I still have it and played it just yesterday.
So now, when things fall apart, I remember my violin and how the moment it broke was the moment it was saved.
And then, I breathe.