Friday, June 26, 2009

My new Nephew LEVI!!!!!!

Let it Sing!

My wife and I married in college. There were advantages to this, which was good because we couldn’t wait to be together any longer than we already had. You see, financial aid in the form of pell grants are only available to college students who are over the age of twenty four… unless you’re married!! When Christy and I got married, the US government started throwing money at us like crazy; in fact, the checks kept coming even after we graduated! We were debt-free 22 year-olds with college degrees who opened the mail box one day to find a check for $800! Christy turned to me and said, “I think we should buy your mandolin… it’s our only chance to have money like this outside of our budget. I was elated and started researching mandolins online. I soon knew everything there was to know about what is (in my opinion) the most beautifully constructed instrument on this planet, the F-style mandolin, created by Lloyd Loar for the Gibson Guitar Company in the early twentieth century.

I poured over stories of the legends of early Gibson mandolins from the 1920’s and before and read about how they were sold for $60,000… $85,000… even $200,000! Why, Bill Monroe’s 1924 Gibson Lloyd Loar F-5 was sold at an auction for 1.1 million dollars! Every mandolin that is built today is trying (with computers, machines and complex algorithms) to mimic things Lloyd Loar figured out with a chisel, some sand paper and his exceptionally sensitive ear almost a hundred years ago. They are simply some of the finest instruments ever built and in the right hands, they absolutely sing!

A while back, my friend Pottsy told me that his mom had a mandolin in the attic that was really old and he wanted me to come look at it. I asked him about it and he didn’t know much… just that it had been his dad’s, and before that his great granddad’s. I asked him how long it had been since someone played it and he had no idea. I went to his house expecting to see a busted up pile of toothpick-like shards in the general shape of an instrument, but what I saw was something else entirely… right in front of my face was a Gibson F-4 mandolin from 1911!! And here’s the kicker: it was perfect. Barely a scratch was on this masterpiece of luthiery! I picked it up in awe. I mean, the strings were rusted like crazy, but otherwise it was immaculate. I grabbed a pick and warned Pottsy that it would sound terrible because the strings were impossibly old and had to be worn out and totally detuned. Then I strummed it…

It was still in tune! Amazingly… impossibly, it was in tune! The tone was so aged, warm and rich! I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe that this absolute treasure was just sitting up in the attic as silent as a stone when it was made to sing! Pottsy said, “What should I do with it?” I said, “Well, you can probably sell it for a bunch of money, but whatever you do, put some new strings on it and listen to it sing. This thing was made to sing!” In Isaiah 43 the Lord calls us “the people I formed for myself that they might proclaim my praise.” We were also made to sing! The point of the human being is to declare the praise of God… it’s what we’re for and what we’re supposed to be about! Have you been sitting in an attic somewhere silent as a stone when you were made to sing?! It’s time to do what you were made for! Tune your heart to sing His praise and let it fly! You were made for this!

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