PRESS PLAY FIRST! (If you want :D)
Last semester in mission prep, we watched a video about this violin maker and this beautiful, intricate violin he had made. (Apparently, this video is based on a poem called, "The Touch of the Master's Hand." http://www.tapestrynvelvet.com/index.php?p=1_15_The-Touch-Of-The-Master-s-Hand <---HERE'S THE LINK IN CASE YOU WANT TO READ IT.) It showed his meticulous work and his close attention to detail and design. As the video went on, it showed the violin being bought by a mother for a young boy who had received the violin as a present. The video continues and shows the violin being neglected by the young boy then being passed down to other people who continue to neglect and batter the once beautiful instrument.
Near the end, it shows an auction in which the now torn and battered violin is in terrible condition. It's once polished surface is covered in scratches and nicks. It's strings that haven't been played in years are out of tune and loose and out of place. It's bow is tattered and it's strings are all over the place and unkempt. To all the people in the audience, the violin is of no worth and the auctioneer puts a low price on the violin. An elderly man amongst the silence stands up and walks to the front of the room where he takes the violin from the auctioneer and tunes the strings and removes the loose horsehairs from the bow.
With confidence and concentration, he places the violin upon his shoulder and starts to play beautiful, melodic music. The audience watches him in silence as he plays his heart felt song. As the song ends, the violinist quietly hands the violin back to the auctioneer and walks out of the room. As if prompted by his exit, the audience suddenly reacts and start to place high bids on the violin, now recognizing the great worth of the tattered violin.
So, what do you say am I taking from this story? Well, let me tell you.
These past couple of days, I've thought a lot about "the worth of souls," and trying to understand how our Heavenly Father sees us. I know that for me, I've prayed night after night pleading with my Father to see others as He does. It has been difficult, but with much work on my part, I've TRIED my best to truly recognize the potential that lies in other people, and it reminded me of this story.
Well, the video is derived from the poem known as, "The Touch of the Master's Hand."
Let us think how the violin relates to us. And I'm going to take this on a couple tangents.
When we were born, we were brought to the earth, small children who didn't really understand the world. We were beautiful, we were polished. We were clean from sin because we did not know what sin was. We had little to no scratches because we weren't at an age of accountability where we knew right from wrong. From the scriptures, we continually learn,
"And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." -Matthew 18: 2-4
We learn, that those who humble themselves even as little children shall inherit the Kingdom of God.
At this time in our lives, we were fragile, we were easily "nickable" and for some of us growing up, we were the opposite of the violin in the story. We were taken care of with great love and great detail. We had a soft, padded case that hugged our bodies with just the right amount of shape. We were continually polished and primped and were taken out and played with continuously to make beautiful music, to feel the power of what music had. Some of us understood from the beginning what would be expected of us with our life, and we KNEW who we were. We were glorious violins, made from the loving hands of a Creator who cared about us. We knew that in life, our purpose was to make music, to bring that music to others, and we understood what was expected of us.
Not to say that those violins who understood from the very beginning what their expectation was didn't experience nicks and scratches along the way, but they understood from a far younger age, who the "Master" was, and what the Touch of His Hands were capable of doing...healing and repairing those nicks and scratches; allowing us to be whole and beautiful once again.
Now let's relate that to the other side of the story, those violins who hit the bumpy road along the way. In comparison to those violins who's early life consisted of padded cases and constant play, there were those violins who experienced a different road. Perhaps those violins were bought and didn't get to experience the same things.
*A violin who was scratched and nicked and dropped a few times.
*A violin who was left on the shelf and wasn't played as often as it could have been.
*A violin that longed to play beautiful music, but didn't know how.
*A violin that didn't understand how it's role played in the world and how it longed for a reason, for understanding.
This violin still had the same worth as a violin that was intricately taken care of, it just didn't have the opportunity yet to know of it's worth. It didn't have an understanding of who "the Great Master" was. The violin had felt the power of music coming from it, but it came in small dosages, small feelings that came and went. Well, even though it wasn't like some of the other violins who didn't understand, didn't mean it wasn't seen of high value.
Let's now take this and relate it to the story.
So, here we have a violin, beautifully cherished, and another violin, battered and a bit on the down side. Well, in the video, a Master of the violin comes forth and with a bit of fine tuning and clean up, the violin, although scratched and nicked plays beautiful music.
Jesus Christ, our Master sees us for what we're worth. He knows and understands the things we have gone through, He sees us for the great potential that we have, and with Him and through his Atonement, we too can experience this "fine tuning and clean up" and know and understand what our purpose is.
"Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God." -D&C 18:10
The Savior knows who we are. He knows us better than we know ourselves and He loves ALL his violins. Whether they're in "high-quality condition" or whether they've "weathered the storms." He knows our hearts, and He knows that no matter what we've been through, we all are capable of producing the same beautiful music. He is aware that our worth is not dependent just on face value, but our worth is something much deeper. We are His violins and He cares for us and loves us, no matter what we've gone through and the mistakes we've made. HE has the ability to fine tune us, to fix us, to make us whole again.
So, in conclusion...
For those of you violins who may have felt or are feeling battered and lost...HE UNDERSTANDS. He knows you. He knows what you are capable of. He sees your worth and through Him you can understand truly what your purpose is. In the Book of Mormon, we learn,
"And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities." -Alma 7:11-12.
And for those violins who don't yet understand or have questions...I KNOW that it is through the Master, through Jesus Christ that we can understand what our potential is. That all the questions and blanks that we've had, that they can be answered and filled as we allow the Savior to be a part of our lives.
No matter what kind of violin you are, YOU ARE CAPABLE OF PRODUCING BEAUTIFUL, MELODIC MUSIC. He knows what you're worth is.
This poem touches my heart and allows me to realize many things. I have realized the beauty that I have. (And I mean that in a non-prideful way.) The Lord and my Heavenly Father have recognized who I am and what I can be. With faithful action on my part, I have been able to be re-polished and fine tuned and for 2 years now, have been able to produce the music I was once not as capable as doing.
-Is my varnish just newly put on? Yes.
-Do some of my dings and dents still show? Absolutely.
-Am I still slowly learning how to read the music I'm capable of playing? True facts.
-Do I still make mistakes and need constant care from the Master? YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT.
It's a long and trying road, but with the Touch of the Master's Hand, any violin, can endure the longest concert. Any violin can make it past broken strings, out of tune-ness, being dropped and bumped, broken bows or neglect.
I hope that you're aware of everything you're capable of. And if you're not, I invite you to ask your Heavenly Father and to see for yourself.
For all those who may be reading, I know that my life has changed since I've come to understand of what my potential is, what my worth is, and what I can be. I know that I am a Daughter of my Heavenly Father and it is through my Savior that I am able to return to live with my Father once again. I used to not understand where I was going and my life was full of unanswered questions and blanks that didn't make sense, but as much as I'm still learning...I have an idea. I know what I have to do. I know that Christ loves me for exactly who I am. That in His eyes, I am worth more than any worldly possession.
I love my Savior. I love my Heavenly Father. I love Them for believing in me.
*January 17, 2009. BEST DAY OF MY LIFE.
PLEASE DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE. WHETHER THOSE QUESTIONS MAY BE DIRECTED TOWARD ME OR TOWARD HEAVENLY FATHER.
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." -James 1:5
May we all play the music we are fully capable of...