Making sweet music..!
CAN’T we stay with your cousin? I asked my friend Roque while visiting Portugal and as I looked at the cold, drab room where I was supposed to stay in Lisbon. “We can’t trouble her Bob, she’s got cancer!” said Roque. “Will we be seeing her?”
“I don’t know whether we will,” he said as the doorbell rang and I opened it to see a middle aged lady standing outside with a small bag. I watched as Roque ran to her and hugged his cousin and we chatted through the evening. “She brought this for us!” he said after she left. “For us?” I asked. “For us to have now!” We opened the bag; it was stuffed with sweets and goodies of every type. There were slabs of chocolates, peanut sandwiches and pastries. It had been packed with love and affection and suddenly I felt the cold dismal room grow warm with the thoughtfulness and kindness of a caring woman.
With misty eyes my thoughts drifted to a scene, another time, another place: A concert violinist was performing a difficult piece in front of a large audience.
Suddenly there was a loud snap that reverberated throughout the auditorium. The audience immediately knew a string had broken and expected the concert to be suspended until another string, or instrument, was brought to the musician. But instead, the violinist composed himself, closed his eyes and signaled the conductor to go on. The orchestra resumed where they had left off and now the musician played the music on three strings! In his mind he worked out new fingering to compensate for the missing string. A work that few people can play well on four strings; the violinist with the broken string played on three.
When he finished, an awesome silence hung in the room. And then as one, the crowd rose to their feet and cheered wildly.
The violinist smiled and wiped the perspiration from his brow. When silence returned to the great room, he turned to the audience and said, “Sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much music we can still make with what we have left!”
I looked at the bag of sweets that warmed the room, “You say she has cancer?” I asked and I shook my head to hide my tears: I thought of many of us who who’ve maybe lived most of our lives and we have only a little time left. Can we still make music? Or many with disease that has robbed us of our capacity to work; can we still make music?
Some among us who have suffered financial loss that has left us impoverished. Can we still make music? And others with a meaningful relationship that has ended and we feel alone in the world. Can we still make music?
And in far off Portugal a basketful of food breathed sweet fragrance as it announced to a once cold room now warm and beautiful, “You can make sweet music with whatever you have left..!”