Old stories are just that: old stories. Some are true. 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.
A wealthy man from London was traveling across Europe. In a rundown little shop in Paris, he found an old violin. Its finish was flaking. It’s bridges were broken down. It’s strings were gone. But something about the instrument intrigued the man, and he bought it for a small sum.
He took the violin to his room and began to tinker with it but quickly realized that repairing it was far too great a task for him. He then began to search for someone to do the job. In Cremona, Italy, he asked a man on the street if he knew anyone who repaired violins. The man directed him to a certain house. He went there and knocked on the door, and the person who answered instructed him to leave the violin and come back in one week.
When the man returned to pick up his instrument, the door was answered by someone different. This man was quite elegant looking and wore distinguished glasses. When he brought forth the violin, it didn’t even look like the same instrument. It was restored completely and virtually sparkled with beauty.
The man took his violin and tried to play it, but the sound that came out was harsh and unpleasant. He thought, “Oh well. It was worth a try to fix it.” Then he asked for the bill and voiced his appall at what he considered an outrageous price, considering that the violin’s sound still left much to be desired.
At that point the bespeckled fellow took the instrument back and began playing it. This time the sound produced was indescribably beautiful to the ear. The owner, with his eyes bouncing, immediately changed his mind and agreed to the price. 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.