Because of the many different crafts I do and instruments I play, I use my hands a LOT. I used to say that if there was one thing I wouldn’t want to lose, it was my hands. Never did I think something would actually happen to make me experience that.
This January, God allowed me to have a very complex hand injury. I went to many different doctors, and was told many things, one of them being I may never have full function, mobility, and strength in the two smaller fingers of my right hand. For most people, this would have just been an inconvenience, but for me, it was a bit more.
I love playing classical guitar. I received my very first guitar almost twenty years ago, and have played it off and on ever since. I taught myself with the help of an occasional friend for seventeen years, took lessons from a music major for a year, and last spring I was blessed to be able to take a semester from an advanced classical guitarist.
While classical guitar was not something I played much in public, I would often sit down with my guitar to just relax and have fun. I loved to be able to play, and one of my passions was to be able to arrange hymn arrangements for the classical guitar.
When I first injured my hand, I was naturally disappointed that I would be hindered from playing any instruments for a while, but when I heard about the possibility of long-term damage, the first thing I thought of was my classical guitar playing. I used my fourth finger all the time in my playing, and I didn’t know what I would do if that was suddenly taken away from me. After a month and a half, I realized that, even though I dearly loved playing my guitar, it was not the most important thing in my life. God would give me other ways to make music, and I had to surrender my hands and my guitar to Him.
The next couple months passed, and I went from a cast, to a removable cast, to just wearing it occasionally. There was a lot of pain, and I could tell there were some major restrictions in my movement. We got a CAT scan and some nerve tests done, and they identified where it had been broken and healed, and felt that the nerves had been bruised and possibly pinched. The Doctor finally relieved me to try to use my hand as normally as possible. Immediately I began to work with my hand, and though progress was very painful, I did see progress.
I had gotten to the point where I was fine with not playing any instruments, but as I began to see more progress in my hand’s mobility and function, I began to look at my dusty guitar case. To be perfectly honest, I was scared to take it out, for fear that I would only become discouraged and upset if I couldn’t play it.
A few more weeks passed, and finally I pulled it out. One of the strings had popped, but oddly God urged me to look through my music books, and lo and behold, a new set of my personal favorite strings! I changed the strings rather slowly, tuned up, stretched the strings and tuned up again.
Finally, I pulled my guitar into my lap, bowed my head for a second, surrendered to God whatever would happen next, and began to play.
“Seek Ye First” was the song that worked its way onto the strings, and as I played through the first verse, it was almost as if I was watching someone else playing my guitar. As the second verse began, tears began to run down my cheeks, and by the end of the song I was sobbing.
Even though I had surrendered my guitar and the ability to play it to the Lord, I had missed it so much! Realizing that God was now giving me back something that I had surrendered to Him only made me feel so humbled and unworthy. True, it was sloppy and full of mistakes, and it hurt to play, but it was a lovely pain, and the mistakes were not important. God was giving me back one of the things I loved the most, and I couldn’t begin to thank Him or praise Him enough for it.
“Delight thyself also in the Lord: and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” –Psalm 37:4