My youngest daughter began playing violin over four years ago when she was 9. She's been taking lessons since then and has occasionally gotten to play some duets here and there, but for the most part, it's either her by herself or her and I as I try to keep up with her on my grandfather's violin. (BTW... violin is SOOO much harder than piano!)
Anyway.... in January of this year, she got the chance to begin practicing with a local youth strings orchestra. The music she was given for the 2nd violin part wasn't too difficult to play note-wise, but it was above her music reading skills to be able to just sit down and read right off like a bunch of the other kids could do. Nevertheless, she was invited to practice with the other 6th-12th graders every Thursday to see what she could do.
She threw herself into it, and she has practiced SO hard to learn the pieces. Then more pieces were added, and she and I tackled them. Two weeks ago, we were told that she could indeed play in the concert if she wanted to, which was scheduled for today. She was thrilled!
Then she got sick yesterday.
When I left for church this morning, she was home with my husband, crying because her throat felt so bad and because she knew she felt too bad to play her violin in the concert. You see, violin is not an instrument that you can play well when you're sick. Much of it is intuitive, so sickness REALLY throws you off. Not to mention, the vibrations go right into your jawbone and through your sinuses. She knew this morning she just felt too bad.
So I went to church on the verge of tears myself and told a few friends how difficult a weekend it was turning out to be for my little girl. Between her hamster dying yesterday (yes, that, too) and this, it just seemed like TOO much for this little girl. (And almost too much for this mommy.)
I learned later on today that during the service, the Lord told the children's church leader to have the kids' Sunday school classes pray for her. So they did, and they made her a whole stack of cards to bring home to her.
So I got in my car, and there was a text on my phone from my girl to call her at home as soon as church let out. I did. She said she got up, took a shower, ate something, and was now feeling better. She begged us to take her to play in her concert. I talked with my husband, and he said she had suddenly gotten up off the couch and gone to take a shower like that was that. So we altered plans last minute again and took her.
She did great, and she felt good. She didn't even have trouble coughing while she was there! (Though she's having trouble now.)
I'm convinced it was the prayers of her Sunday School classmates that God used to strengthen her and carry her through so she could play in the concert. He was letting these kids see how they can be (and need to be) there for each other... how He touches people by working through other people.
And the kids in the concert did SO well! It was just amazing to sit there and listen to these kids play these pieces. I just felt overwhelmed because the music was so beautiful, and it was all kids! Before everything starts, when the violins and violas and cellos and bass viols are all tuning up... it's like the twinkles that start flickering in the sky in Cinderella or Peter Pan, because magic is about to happen.
And then the opening notes sound... and you feel like you've slipped into a fairy tale. For all these months, you hear your kid practicing their part over and over again, and you think you know what it's going to sound like. Except you don't. Because then all the different parts come together and take turns with the melody, and it's only a tiny bit like what you were hearing all those months. It's so many times more complete-sounding and beautiful. It was one of the most magical things I've ever experienced, and I think you'll understand if I say that a few of my own tears leaked out at the wonder that God had allowed my daughter to be a part of it.
So here they are... the Mansfield Youth Strings Orchestra, playing my girl's favorite of the five pieces they did. You can't see her, but she's in the back, right in the middle.