I am currently in the final process of trying to restore my violin and no longer really have the funds available to complete the last few steps. I have been working on this goal for the last year and have sold most things I had been keeping around for years (baseball cards, etc) in order to pay for everything I needed. My violin is a family heirloom something I consider to be priceless. As it stands, it has a crack on one of the sides and the varnish on the top has been stripped off. There are also several scratches/abrasions on the bottom. It is my hope, that at some point, this instrument can be restored back to the condition it was when my ancestors played it.
I should also probably mention how I found it and why it’s so important to me. After serving two combat tours during the war, I found that I had become a much harder individual than I had once been and that I was no longer at peace with who I saw in the mirror. As time passed away, I began to lose any real sense of motivation and struggled each day to simply press forward. I felt empty and trapped by years of regret and the inability to forgive myself for mistakes made in the past. During this time, I prayed many times out of desperation for some sort of help as I knew I could no longer continue living my life the way I had. Unfortunately, I don’t think I was willing to hear the answer until things grew much worse. Sometimes in life we ask for help but because of our own pride, we feel there isn’t a solution to our problems or that God really doesn’t care about us anymore. Such was my case. I think I had become so used to the sorrow that I was afraid to even try.
About 5 months ago I stumbled across a Lindsey Stirling video “Crystallize” and it touched me in ways that I cannot readily express in words. I watched it over and over again and though I had always appreciated fine music, something was different and I couldn’t understand what it was. All I knew was that it brought tears to my eyes and I felt at peace for the first time in years. I knew that I had received an answer to my prayer though I could never have expected how God would redirect me.
I went home that night and told my wife what had happened and that I needed to learn to play the violin. I didn’t know why at the time but I knew it was what I must do. I felt excited again, and that somehow, I had a sense of purpose. There was no way to explain it to my wife other than to say that I had felt God had given me an opportunity. Within a few days, somehow, all the pain and regret I had lived with for so long was washed away. I slept through the night for the first time in years and the nightmares from the war seamed to just vanish.
For most people, I think this would have been a strong enough answer but for me, I soon found out that God had prepared something very special. I wanted the ability to purchase a decent violin to study on but sadly enough, it wasn’t financially possible at the time. Again, I prayed and asked for help as I knew that if the God wanted me to learn this instrument, he would provide a way. A few days later, I felt impressed to tell my parents about the experience I had had and to my eternal joy, my mother informed me she had an old violin in storage that had once belonged to my grandfather. It had remained in some form of storage for the last 70 years without anyone ever thinking much about it. She didn’t know why she kept it safe for all this time but she told me that she thought it might be important someday.
After doing some research, we found that it was crafted somewhere around 1850 and was carried across the plains to the Salt Lake valley by either a distant member of my family or by someone who my family member received it from. With all they suffered, someone sacrificed so greatly to ensure it arrived in Utah likely having no idea what would happen to it in the future.
That was about a year ago and as I look back, this simple instrument has changed my life. I am at peace with who I am and no longer live my life with resentment or bitterness. I don’t know why I tell this story here other than to explain in some way that for me, my violin isn’t just an instrument, I see it as a gift from God.
My hope with making this post is that I might be able to raise the last $400 I need to fully restore it back to the original condition. Anything that anyone is willing to donate would be greatly appreciated! If you would like, I will gladly send photos of the violin as it is being restored in addition to my gratitude.
Below are a few images of the process this far:
Phase 1: Polish, Basic Repairs
Phase 2: Replace strings, bridge, fingerboard, add fine tuners
Phase 3: Replace chinrest, remove "training tape," polishing