Old stories are just that: old stories. Some are true and some aren’t. Here’s one that comes from the late seventeenth century. I can’t testify to it’s authenticity, but it’s a good story.
As a wealthy man from London was traveling across Europe, he found an old violin in a rundown little shop in Paris. The violin’s finish was flaking. Its bridges were broken down. Its strings were gone. But something about the instrument intrigued the man, and so he bought it for a small sum.
He took the violin to his room and tinkered with it a bit before realizing that repairing it was far too great a task for him. He then began a systematic search to find someone to do the job. In Cremona, Italy, he asked a man on the street if he knew anyone who repaired violins, and the man directed him to a certain house. The wealthy man went to that house, knocked on the door, and was greeted by a servant who instructed him to leave the violin and come back in one week.
When the man returned to pick up his instrument a week later, the door was answered by someone other than the servant. This other man looked quite elegant and wore distinguished glasses, and when he brought forth the violin, it was restored completely and sparkled with beauty. It didn’t even look like the same instrument from a week earlier.
The wealthy man took his violin and tried to play it, but the sound that came from it was harsh and unpleasant. He thought, “Oh well, it was worth a try to fix it. At least it looks better now.” Then he asked the other man for the bill and was appalled at what seemed to be an outrageous price, considering that the violin’s sound still left much to be desired.
At that point the man with the glasses took the instrument back and began playing it, producing a sound that was indescribably beautiful to the ear. The owner, with his eyes bouncing, quickly changed his mind about the restoration fee and agreed to pay it. As he handed over the money, he asked the gentleman, “Who are you, sir?” The answer came back, “My name is Antonio Stradivari. If you will look closely, you’ll find that name inside your violin because I made it.”
The spiritual application of this story is two fold. First, just as Antonio Stradivari knew how to restore one of his Stradivarius violins, God knows how to restore you, His creation. Second, just as Stradivari knew exactly how to play one of his violins to produce the most beautiful music from it, God knows how to play you to produce the most beautiful music you have in you.