I had just come in from a long day, having driven all over the various random villages and trailer parks of Burke County, North Carolina. It was Christmas Eve, and my companion and I had spent the entire day contacting every single person we had been working with. We would show up on each family’s doorstep, my companion holding the framed picture of Christ (with our missionary budget we had made the most of the $1 frames from All A Dollar and our pass along cards), and me holding my violin. When they came to the door I would break out in some Christmas Carol and we would serenade them to a few carols.
It was the second best day of my entire mission (the first was the day we actually had a baptism in which I played a role in the conversion process). Some people we visited had never seen a real violin before. Others were just so excited that somebody came to visit them on Christmas Eve.
It was so great to be able to use this tool to bring so much joy into people’s lives. It was also the first time in my life that I felt truly and deeply grateful that my mom had made me practice so much.
It wouldn’t have been possible without Connie’s countless hours driving us to lessons, Suzuki Institutes, waking us up at ungodly hours of the morning to practice, using every carrot and stick she could think of to get us to practice. Not to mention putting together two Cannon String Trios to play at weddings, various car breakdowns en route to St. George and Cedar City, and the financial sacrifice that all of this entailed.
Since then I’ve thought often about what kind of impact those music lessons have made on our family in terms of discipline, hard work, and an appreciation for creativity and music. Cate’s music studio and Chad’s composition abilities aside, the results are not always tangible, but they run deep and broad for all of us.
So once again, thanks Mom, for forcing me to learn the violin.