Children want to do many things, virtually everything that they are interested in. This is because they have little to no sense of restriction. Therefore, when you ask a child if the want to do an activity you will most likely get a resounding “YES!”. This is one of the great wonders that children gracefully encompass.
The story I am about to unveil to you involves a man from whom had this same spirit as a child. Growing up in a musically supportive household, he decided that he wanted to play the violin as well as playing the piano. With discouraging advice from his piano teacher to stay with one instrument, he would only get to see his fathers violin decades later and eight years after his father’s death. Only to be rejected by his Mother citing that she wanted the antique violin to go to a grandchild.
Here is the story:
My husband holds many cherished memories from his preteens through his college years and beyond of accompanying his father on the piano while his father played the violin, one he had played as a boy growing up in Karlsbad, the most famous spa town in what was then Czechoslovakia.
Wolfgang soon fell in love with the music and soul of the violin and asked fervently that he be allowed to learn to play, too. But his piano teacher advised his parents to have him concentrate solely on one instrument before taking up another. Unfortunately, the time never came for him to take up violin playing.
Later in life Wolfgang began to hope that his dad’s old violin, not of significant monetary value, would be passed on to him someday. Neither of his siblings had learned to play either so it seemed reasonable to him to harbor this dream, especially since he had been his father’s sole accompanist. It was a desire fueled from treasured memories epitomizing a father/son bond and their special times together when sometimes his dad affectionately called him “Amadeus”.
Many years went by until, inevitably, Wolfgang’s father passed away leaving his mother to pick through the pieces of 55 years of marriage. The couple had moved from Germany to America as displaced persons when Wolfgang was 3½ years old. The humble belongings they collected through subsequent years represented a frugal life, including eight years as missionaries in Africa in their later years.
Then, eight years after his father’s death and two years after his mother remarried, while helping them consolidate their belongings and move into one home, my husband came across his dad’s violin in its unique wooden case tucked away in a closet. Overcome with emotion and memories he opened the case and looked once again at the old violin. Surely this was the moment –he would ask his mother if he could have it.
Without going into the details of the conversations that passed between Wolfgang and his mother over the ensuing weeks and months, her answer was finally unequivocal: he will never possess the violin. Rather, she deemed it should be passed on to a grandson who plays the violin.
Heartbroken and not a little angry, my husband has had difficulty accepting her decision. But like so much of what life presents to all of us these days, rather reasonable or unfair or unwarranted, we can choose how we relate to circumstances that come our way.
Though my husband may never own his father’s old violin, he can smile because he will forever be in possession of those singular, inspiring, magnificent times that he and his dad played together music that surely made the angels sing. –Patricia Struntz
This goes to show the power of a single decision. Our decisions shape our lives. When we are in the position of authority or hierarchy, those decision take on a higher value because we now hold someone else’s life and future in our control. We must be deliberate and conscious. Even though the decisions we make now might seem insignificant, they truly are what make up our future.