My sister recently hired someone to come and tune her piano. She proceeded to inform me she was unable to stay in the same room as the tuner brought the piano, one string after another, painfully into tune.
I played violin for about 10 years. I am embarrassed to even type that, when the truth is, I played but I didn’t practice. There were times that I would sit in orchestra, faking my way along, but I am sure I didn’t fool anyone.
I need to apologize, Mr. Yoder; it really had nothing to do with you, or your ability to conduct an orchestra.
I am struck that the tuning of the piano pained my sister’s ears. I loved hearing the beginning of a piece of music. The head violinist would stand and play “A.” What followed was a cacophony of instruments melding themselves into one sound. As that sound was reached, it was melodious.
I personally relish this moment. In my mind, the sound is beautiful.
A violin has two places it can be tuned. The regular tuning pegs at the scroll are large and awkward. Sometimes they get stuck. There are times when the string is so off tune, you must use the pegs. Other times there is only a slight variance between in tune and out of tune. The fine tuners, located on the tailpiece, are used to fix the slight differences.
If I am honest, I wept as we crossed the border into our country of service. A fear of the known overwhelmed me. I “knew” what we were in for because we had spent a 10-month internship here. This fear was the place I lived in for the year and a half we spent fundraising and re-discovering our calling. I was certain I knew what was going to happen, how I would feel, and what I was going to lose.
I am ashamed to admit I stayed in that place. I ruminated in my bitterness. It came out at my family, encapsulating me in loneliness. I was not fun to be around.
Like my sister’s piano, I needed some tuning. The fine tuners weren’t good enough. It took months, but I was put in the place of seeing my own sin. Strings were moved. I had to repent. I had to realize that living in fear was creating an unpleasant sound. I lacked trust in the one who created me, and I was attempting to make my own music.
The process of getting into tune is one of learning to adjust. I can remain in discord. People may not want to stay in the room through the journey. It isn’t beautiful, and at times it pains the ears of the listeners. Understandably, people want to watch the concert, with the minor tuning instead of be stuck in a house when the instrument needs a massive tuning overhaul.
By his grace, my music is becoming something that others can listen to. I found that grace, for myself especially. Will I allow The Master himself to use the peg tuners, and fine tuners as needed? I have chosen to say yes. Sometimes that yes is through gritted teeth. The process, though, is oh-so-worth being a part of. It creates a symphony worth listening to.
What has this process of tuning looked like in your life?