One night at church, one of the older members who I consider a dear friend handed me a mandolin case.
“I bought this and put strings on it and wanted to know if you’d try it out for me. Let me see how it sounds.”
I opened the case and saw what is probably a vintage Fender Mandolin. It was beautiful complete with mother of pearl details.
“Sure!” I told him picking it up.
“That thing’s worth about a thousand dollars. I want to make sure I got my money’s worth.”
It was at that point that I almost changed my mind. My mandolin had cost less than $100 and I still treated it like a newborn baby. No way could I trust myself with such an expensive instrument. But he insisted and considering I was the only mandolin player there, I almost felt obligated to give it a try so he could see what he had bought.
As I slid my hand down the neck to play, I noticed something that I probably would have never noticed by just looking at it in the case. I discretely flipped it over to see why there was a rough place where my hand had touched.
And there it was. There had once been a break on the neck near the body of the mandolin that had been mended. The glue used to hold it back together had dried leaving a rough spot around the break. I wasn’t sure if he knew it was there and I didn’t want to disappoint him if he didn’t know. So I didn’t say a word. I just started playing.
“That’s one of the best sounding mandolins I’ve ever heard!” He said happily.
And even though I was expecting it to sound bad due to the repair, I had to agree. It sounded beautiful.
Since then, he’s allowed me to keep playing it and many other people have told me the same thing. None of them know the mandolin’s story about how it was broken but now it sounds so beautiful but I think about it every time I play.
When I slide my hand down its neck and feel that spot, I think about how much that mandolin and I have in common.
We’ve both been broken. We’ve both been fixed back together the best that we could do. And in my opinion, we’re both better for it.
Right after my now ex-husband left me, I was walking through my yard and saw a bird’s nest that had been blown from a tree. The nest was tiny and and had strips of plastic woven into it. I thought of that momma bird and how she was doing whatever she could to make a home for her babies. She used whatever she could find to make sure they were safe and comfortable and that they would have a good start in life.
I almost cried knowing how that bird must have felt. There I was with a house payment, bills, and a divorce to work out all while fighting to keep my daughter. I knew that I had to be like that bird and pick up what pieces I could and find a way for my child.
I picked up that nest and set it on my fireplace mantle as a reminder. I would make this work. I would do whatever I had to do to give my baby a good start in life. I had no other choice.
I’m glad that I have these two things in my life to remind me that yes, I was broken but I came through it.
Being broken is hard. It’s challenging to put everything back together. It leaves you with a scar. You will probably never be the same again.
But the good news is, given time and love and a little effort, you can be mended. You can make the best of what you have. And you can be beautiful again.