A writer friend of mine sent me a picture of her new t-shirt. It says “I am a Writer…anything you say or do may be used in a story”…yes…I have ordered one.
We all are story tellers to a certain degree, but for those of us who are compelled to capture the words and shape them and share them, our ears and eyes are ever turned to watching the world around us.
When a story lands in our lap, we must share it and so today I share with you a story from yesterday.
Russ and I traveled to St. Louis to attend the annual spring fundraiser for the St. Louis String Collective. This is a nonprofit that our Sarah helps run with two other strings artists/teachers. (here is their website https://www.stlstringcollective.com)
She had asked us to man the donation table for a half hour shift and while we were waiting for our turn, we sat in the audience and enjoyed hearing our favorite violinist play with her friends for a half hour.
As we sat, an older than me lady came in pulling a cello behind her. She took the seat next to me and I assumed she was a veteran music teacher who had been invited to do one of the sets. The Collective teachers invite their young students to play a set for the event along with local musician friends.
My seat mate got some snacks and seemed to be enjoying the whole thing and we exchanged a few pleasantries but that was the extent of it.
We had another event to attend back home that evening so our stay was short and we got on the road. Later Sarah sent us two videos and lo and behold they were featuring the lady I had been sitting next to.
The first video was about four minutes in length followed by another three minute video where she solo’s on “Amazing Grace” accompanied by Sarah’s partners in the Collective.
I feel like Paul Harvey as I say…now here is the rest of the story…
I have listened to video with tears several times now.
This cellist had a dream as she was entering fourth grade that she wanted to learn to play the cello. Her father, however, desiring a quality education for her, enrolled her in the parochial school and there was no strings program.
She jokingly said that she continued through her education, including college, in the parochial system and her father knew full well that the goal of the schools was for boys to be priests and girls to be nuns and he didn’t want that for her…but alas…by her decision she was called to serve as a nun.
All of her job assignments were administrative, leaving little time nor money for lessons on the cello. But for 60 years she kept dreaming of one day taking lessons.
At age 78, as arthritis was setting in, she told herself it was now or never so she set money aside in her budget and finally rented a cello (to make sure she would actually want to do this) and paid for three months of lessons.
She said that as she sat in the music store holding the cello for the first time, she cried. She also discovered that the cello is a difficult instrument and she was thankful for a patient teacher. She knew she would never play in a symphony as she struggled to learn to play, but she loved it enough to continue with her lessons.
Her last church assignment was seven years and as she retired from this place, the congregation gifted her a cello and a gift certificate for a year’s worth of lessons. I know that right now you love them as much as I do for doing this.
She told some funny stories about comments people made as she walked along with her cane and her cello pulling behind her. One man rolled down his window and shouted encouragement to her. So funny <3
She had to have a second hip replacement which set her back from practice and then her teacher took a job that prevented him from teaching so at age 82 she was on the look out for a new teacher.
That is when she found Ranya, who is part of the String Collective and they have been working together several months.
So many things here.
The encouragement of musicians who teach…the fact that we are never too old to finish the dreams that were planted in our hearts…the stories that are sitting around us all the time that we are blessed to hear…the kindness of others…the ability to inspire just be doing the hard things we are called to do.
I wish I could play the videos for you but I hope I have captured the story with my words to make a picture for you today.
Be blessed as you persevere. May God strengthen us with patience and endurance to finish our races well <3