I did think of calling this post “The mysterious item I discovered lurking at the bottom of my handbag” – but that’s not quite as snappy. Anyway, I’ll give you a million guesses as to what this is:
No? Well, it’s small enough to fit in my handbag; although any woman who has children will know it’s incredible how much junk can be squashed into one bag. A few more clues: it’s made of wood, measures about 4cm by 0.5 cm and I come across around 150 of them every week.
There’s probably a lost child in here somewhere…
My day job involves travelling round different schools, teaching violin. The object in the picture is the sound-post from my instrument. This should be wedged between the top and bottom surfaces of the violin. I don’t understand enough about physics to tell you how it works, but the post is there to amplify and enhance the sound.
A couple of weeks before Christmas, I dropped my violin. This is a regular occurrence with my pupils’ instruments: it comes under the heading of “Ways to raise Miss’s blood pressure”, along with loosening the pegs when they think I’m not watching. Fortunately, apart from being out of tune, it seemed fine…until I drew my bow across the strings. Yuck! (Insert your own joke here.) I tipped my violin from side to side, and was rewarded with an ominous rattle. Somehow, the impact had dislodged the sound-post. Everything looked normal – but my violin was effectively useless.
Does it sound as good as it looks?
When King Saul turned away from God, the prophet Samuel was charged with going to visit Jesse and his sons to anoint one of them as the new king. Samuel was impressed by the older sons, but God had different ideas. “Man looks at the outward appearance,” said God, “but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16: 7, NIV.)
In the same way, I find it easy to focus on external things, to the detriment of what really matters. My challenge to myself this year is to stop worrying about my “outward appearance”, and to let Jesus be my spiritual sound-post. When I keep him at the centre of things, my life has meaning, purpose and beauty.