I’m talking with my father-in-law. It’s a deep conversation, reminiscent of three weeks ago when I told him I had a strange peace come over me along with the thought that I’ll be in remission...someday.
Today is a follow-up to that. “Oh, that reminds me,” he says. “I have something for you to read and something for you to keep.” So he leaves the table and comes back with a faded envelope that says “June 2007.”
“You’re only the second person to read this,” he says, then slides the envelope across the table.
So, I hold it gingerly—sacredly—since I know this is important to a man I respect so much. After all my dad and my father-in-law got me through my last rounds of radiation because I kept thinking about how they both had cancer and were brave enough to continue fighting so they could survive. That means I better do the same.
I open the letter and find it hard to breathe. It’s the story of how a strange peace came to him, of how during his darkest hour HE somehow knew that one day he’d be okay. It’s amazing really, a true testament of faith.
I hand the envelope back.
“And this is for you to keep,” he says.
That softhearted Italian smiles as my eyes light with wonder. “I carved it for you,” he says.
I’m soon discovering every detail of the violin now in front of me, tears fill my eyes—and a memory fills my heart.
I was 16. The group had asked for a violinist to help them with a play. “We’ll tell the story,” the woman said, “of a battered violin an auctioneer tries selling. But no one wants it. And when the auctioneer is about to just give it away, someone steps from the audience and plays the violin to show its true worth.”
They picked me to play the violin during this story. After I played, the auctioneer would get so many bids that the worn violin would sell for thousands upon thousands of dollars. It was such a beautifully touching event, and the people in attendance really did seem enchanted as I played the violin and walked among them before actors “placed their bids.”
I think of this as I study the little violin my father-in-law made for me. And just when I think I’ve seen everything, I notice a laminated note hanging from the bow. “What is this?” I ask, and then my breath catches because it’s the story from the play I’d been in: The Touch of the Master’s Hand.
We’ve been given so much by so many people. I don’t even know how to begin thanking everyone. But just know that it’s this kindness and strength that are buoying me forward. And through it all, I’m seeing how awesome life is when—even through the heartache—we have the courage to see that God has a plan. I feel like He’s leaving breadcrumbs, little signs to let me know that things will be okay. I’m so grateful for these signs. Despite illness and trials, I am the luckiest. I’m so grateful for everything, and for the amazing people who are in my life.