Don’t blame the violin . . !


YOU know, says a complaining voice, “If only I’d been born healthy like you, I feel likewise: J.F. Rowlands of South Africa was once holidaying in the south of France when he met a dignified old man in the hotel he was staying in.

This man was a learned professor and also famous as a violinist. That night he was giving a concert in town on his Stradivarius, which Rowlands knew was one of the most expensive violin’s in the world and one of the most beautiful instruments to play on.

Rowlands bought a ticket for the front row at the casino and was in his seat early on the day of the concert. The hall was packed tight.

When the curtain was raised the old man walked on to the stage in the flood light. The crowd burst into applause and clapped even louder as he raised the famous violin onto his shoulder, and then, pin drop silence as he started playing.

The people listened, enchanted with the violinist’s melodious music and even swayed to and fro with the wonderful harmony created.

When the violinist finished the first piece building up the music to an incredible crescendo, there was a standing ovation.

It was time for the second piece to be played. The crowd froze as the violinist took the violin and smashed it on the back of his chair.

There wasn’t a sound in the auditorium as the people went into a state of shock. Quietly the old man announced. “That was only a cheap violin, now ladies and gentlemen I am going to play on my Stradivarius!”

The concert proceeded and as Rowlands listened to the music, he realised along with the rest of the crowd that the music the old man had played before on the cheap instrument had also been equally good.

The crowd understood what the old man was trying to convey; the quality of the music had to do with the musician and not with the instrument he held in his hand.

So is it with life my friend. We are the violinists of the world. To some are given Stradivarius lives of ease and comfort and to others are handed over days of hardship and toil.

To some Stradivarius good bosses, and others hard taskmasters. For some Stradivarius loving families, to many, broken, or grief-stricken homes.

But the music we finally render, the battle we finally win or lose, the success we ultimately achieve or fail to gain, has to do with how we play on the instrument of life. It is not the violin that counts, oh no it isn’t, but you my friend, the violinist..!

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