One of the world leading talents today is a young man named David Garrett. He is youthful, handsome to the point of absurdity, and rich. If you have ever seen him, you are accurate to conclude that he has spent a good part of his short but successful career as a model. He can be seen wearing Armani and in the pages of Vogue magazine. He continues to model, from time to time, but posing for the camera is not his first love. Garret spends most of his waking hours practicing the violin.
David Garrett, who has been called the David Beckham of classical music, was playing with the London Philharmonic before he was ten years old. And wanting nothing more than to play music, he ran away from home to study at the Juilliard School of music in New York. This was against the wishes of his European parents. So modeling, which he had the face for, was his way of paying his own way as he went. I guess if you’ve got it, use it.
At Christmas time a couple of years ago, Garrett played for a packed house at London’s Barbican Hall. Having made up with his parents, seeing that this music gig had worked out pretty well, he hurried out the back door after the performance to meet his family for dinner.
Coming up the concert hall stairwell, he slipped at the top of the flight and fell backwards, tumbling down the stairs. He was bruised and battered, but worse than that, he fell on the case carrying his concert violin, landing on it with every bounce down the stairs. This was no ordinary violin, however. When you are world-class musician, you carry a world-class instrument. Garret’s instrument was a 230-year-old Italian masterpiece crafted by G. B. Guadagnini.
Garrett said he bought the violin in 2003 for 510,000 Euros; at the time, a cool one million American dollars. And after his fall, the instrument was smashed into almost a million not so cool pieces. But Garret was not all down in the dumps over what had happened. First, he realized that the violin and case had probably saved him from serious injury, if not saved his life. He was fortunate to have only a few bumps and bruises. Second, his last recordings where he used the now crushed violin sky-rocketed in value.
CDs that had been selling for twenty bucks, suddenly began selling for more than a thousand. Third, the violin was insured, and his policy should pay off. But the best news of all: David Garrett was playing music again in just a couple of weeks having been given a replacement instrument: A Stradivarius worth three times Garrett’s original instrument. Not a bad stumble after all?
Like David Garrett, we are all going to slip and fall, sometimes, very hard. We are all going to tumble, end over end, in a crash of our own making. It’s inevitable. It’s human nature. It’s beyond doubt. What will we do in the aftermath? – That is the more pertinent question.
Will we lie in the stairwell, mourning our losses, nursing our broken bones, crying over the crushed pieces that cannot be replaced, repaired, or undone; or will we get up, still bruised, but learn from the process and start playing music, better music again?
My friend Landon Saunders may sum it up best with a little tale from the Wild West. A cowboy was sentenced to be hanged for his crimes. They took him out to the gallows and asked him, “Do you have any last words?” He said, “Yes, I do. This is really going to teach me a lesson.”
That’s probably a bit late in the game to learn. So, maybe you can get to it a tad quicker than that. Maybe you can embrace what God wants to do with your failures. He wants them to be a new beginning. Where you fall, and a part of you breaks, that is where he brings new life – life like you never thought possible.