I spent the next 4 weeks playing my loaner fiddle. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say I spent the next 4 weeks falling hopelessly in love with my loaner fiddle. The tunes seemed to dance out of the instrument, enveloping my ears with a rich, deep almost chocolatey warmth that made me smile every time I touched the bow to string. I wasn’t a very good player, but this made me want to play more and more…which is how one learns, isn’t it?
After getting the dreaded phone call that my instrument was repaired and ready to go home, I arranged a lesson with Sandy with the loaner instrument. As I played a set of jigs, he stopped me to ask what was on my mind. “I have to give this back today, Sandy, and I am heartbroken about it! But I can’t come close to affording it!”
Sandy is one of the most gracious, gentle and optimistic human beings I’ve ever met. He looked into my eyes, smiled, and this is what I remember him saying: “My dear, once in a lifetime, you find a fiddle that fits. You pick it up and it is as if it was made for you. You will spend years playing all sorts of instruments, but if this is yours, then don’t let it go. Do whatever you have to so that you can keep it. And trust me, I can tell that this is yours. Your face tells me that every time you pick it up”.
When I headed down to Heinl’s, I was in a complete conundrum. I walked into the store, and Ric was waiting for me on the stairs. He asked what was up, and I told him I had fallen in love with his loaner, but I was here to give it back. With two children in university and all my other commitments, there was no way I could scrape together that kind of money.
Ric slowly smiled. Actually, he beamed. He took the case from my hands and put it on the counter. And then he said we would work together so I could keep the instrument. He said “It is so rare when we find an instrument that fits your spirit, your body and your heart, and when you do, you need to keep it.”
How much money could I put down? I had $200 to pay for the repairs to my other fiddle, and I had budgeted for the month to cover that. But remember, Ric knew and trusted his clients. He stood at the counter, punching a calculator, finally pushing it aside and saying “The repairs on the home-built are $80, so put the other $120 down and hopefully in 6 months, we can complete the sale.”
6 months. I could do that. I handed him my cash, signed some paperwork, picked up the my repaired fiddle and said good-bye. “Not so fast, young lady! Aren’t you forgetting something?” This most wonderful business man insisted I take the loaner with me, despite the fact that I had barely paid for 10% of the instrument!
I learned so much from this adventure in my life. I learned that there are angels, in the form of fiddle teachers and music store owners, who shower us with grace. I learned that things we love are worth having in our lives, regardless of the costs, and there are people out there prepared to help us have them. There have been trade offs and compromises for that fiddle…I had to give up my private fiddle lessons, and Starbucks coffee is consumed only when I travel. But when I pick up that fiddle, the one that was made for me, it is worth it all.
My story is about my fiddle. But it could be about anything that is truly “yours”. As my reader, find whatever lessons in the story that you can, and then share them with others. I know both Sandy and Ric would be happy.