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Davis Journal

When your string breaks

Apr 15, 2022 10:10AM ● By The Andersons

I have a love/hate relationship with social media. It seems that far too many experiences leave me questioning the state of humanity, but today was a beautiful exception.

As I had been pondering what to write in this week’s column, I’d decided on a message and how I would share it, but that plan immediately changed when I saw the Facebook post of a friend memorializing the 21 year anniversary of her son’s death. To be honest, sometimes I skip over those types of posts because I’m not sure my heart can handle it. Today, though, I read it in its entirety.

Yes, it made me cry, but not as much out of grief as it was tears of gratitude for such a beautiful message. I share it here today with the hope it brings a song to your heart as well:

“When your string breaks…

This morning I awoke with the memory of 21 years ago, when my 19-year-old son ‘Timmy’ passed away. At the time I couldn’t imagine making it 21 hours without him, yet here I find myself.

Over the years I have come to realize that we all have that moment in our lives when the world changes forever. Whether a parent, sibling, spouse, or a child, the loss is unimaginable.

I have found solace in a story about Itzhak Perlman.

Perlman was scheduled to play a difficult, challenging violin concerto. In the middle of the performance one of the strings on his violin snapped with a rifle-like popping noise that filled the entire auditorium. The orchestra immediately stopped playing and the audience held its collective breath. The assumption was he would have to put on his braces, pick up his crutches, and leave the stage. Either that or someone would have to come out with another string or replace the violin. After a brief pause, Perlman set his violin under his chin and signaled to the conductor to begin.

One person in the audience reported what happened: “I know it is impossible to play a violin concerto with only three strings. I know that and so do you, but that night, Itzhak Perlman refused to know it. You could see him modulating, changing, and recomposing in his head. At one point it sounded as if he were re-tuning the strings to get a new sound that had never been heard before. When he finished, there was an awesome silence that filled the room. Then people rose and cheered. Perlman smiled, wiped his brow, and raised the bow of his violin to quiet them. He spoke, not boastfully, but quietly in a pensive tone, ‘You know, sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left.”

I have given thought to this message many times. I move on, I find happiness every day. To do so does not mean I love him less, nor could miss him more.

When our string breaks, we must continue, we must complete the symphonies of our lives.”

Every life is a symphony. There are times when the music is so soft it isn’t discernible. But it’s there. And it will crescendo once more as the strings of your heart find their way again.