The Instrument

Author: C. Therese Benoit

When the craftsman first made the instrument, it was beautiful; and the music it produced was so sweet and clear that everyone wanted to have it.

The craftsman gave the instrument to a young couple who he knew would treat it with love. The couple didn't let the craftsman down. They played beautiful, tender songs on it; and the instrument responded with its sweet voice to the couple's loving touch. The young couple had children who played with the instrument too. At times the children played gently, but sometimes, as all children do, they played harsh songs, hammering out discordant chords, causing the tender strings within the instrument to fray.

As the years passed, the couple's children grew up and left home. The couple had no new songs to play on the instrument so they gave the instrument to a young man who promised to take good care of it. The instrument was not happy in this strange new home. It ached for the beautiful songs of its youth, the loving touches of the old couple's fingers.

Though the man was able to produce three beautiful compositions with the instrument, his hands were rough most of the time and the songs he played were harsh and cruel. The instrument cried out in anguish as it felt its inner parts slowly break down. Even when the three beautiful compositions were played, the instrument could not sing as sweetly as it used to. Eventually, it could not sing the man's songs anymore; and the man left, abandoning the instrument. And there it sat -- beaten, dented, nicked, scratched and sorely out of tune.

Soon afterwards, a stream of new players found the instrument and visited often to play their songs. Some players were gentle, but most were boisterous, pounding gaudy, ugly tunes, all in the name of fun and entertainment. The instrument, happy to just have someone there, responded as best it could. It tried to teach the players the sweet songs it knew from the past, but the players were not interested.

More years passed by, and now the instrument couldn't sing anything but the ugly tunes that had been hammered on it. Eventually, the stream of players abandoned the instrument, leaving it with its ugly songs, dented outer frame, and broken inner parts. The instrument had no idea how it had come to this state. It's only consolation were the memories of the once beautiful songs it used to play, especially the three beautiful compositions created by the man; and it pondered those songs while it sat alone.

One day, the craftsman found the instrument, and feeling distressed over the condition of his once beautiful masterpiece called on a gentle man to come and take care of the instrument. The gentle man took the instrument home with him and caressed its broken, outer frame with love. He polished it and made it feel beautiful again, but when he tried to play his loving songs, the instrument could not sing sweetly anymore. The man felt frustration as he didn't know how to fix the inner components, and the instrument felt great sadness for it wanted to sing sweetly for this kind man.

In the darkness of one lonely night, as the man slept, the instrument realized there was only one way to sing sweetly again. Hoping not to wake the sleeping man, the instrument cried out its broken song to the craftsman as loud as it could. It's song rang out into the night and the craftsman awoke to the mournful tune. Immediately the craftsman came to the instrument and started his work. As dawn approached, the craftsman was finished, and though the instrument was still dented, scratched and nicked on the outside, its inner workings were replaced with new parts.

The gentle man awoke to find the craftsman with the instrument and was amazed, for as the craftsman played the instrument, glorious melodies rang out of the beaten casing. The gentle man, with tears in his eyes, asked the craftsman what he could do to thank him.

"You take care of my instrument as you always have" said the craftsman. "Caress it and polish it with your loving hands."

"But, sir," the man replied. "I can't make this instrument sing like you do. That is its whole purpose!"

"Yes," replied the craftsman. "That is why I will stay here with you. I will play the songs and the instrument will sing sweeter than it ever has before."

And from that day on, the instrument has been singing constantly, responding to the craftsman's beautiful songs. And the gentle man listens and smiles.

For those who have not guessed yet, the craftsman is God and the instrument is me.

Veritas, 2nd December 2010