A tag sale to ponder

sold to fear

“Here are the bread – the wine – the table – the house:

a man’s needs, and a woman’s, and a life’s.

Peace whirled through and settled in this place:

the common fire burned, to make this light.”~ Pablo Neruda

The man was selling a beautiful violin. It was a tag sale in one of those fancy neighborhoods…so an estate sale really. There was much to see and choose from. I looked at some of the rugs, vases and even a lamp I liked. But the violin caught my eye and heart, because of its beautiful warm color, impeccable case and, because it reminded me of my step-grandfather who made so many violins when I was a child.

Even though I don’t play, I stepped closer to the table for a better look. When I glanced up, there was the seller right in front of me.

“It’s beautiful” I said.

“Yes, it is” he replied.

He picked it up to show it to me. I had to finally tell him I was not interested because I didn’t play. As if suddenly scared of something, his smile faded into a difficult, all too intimate sadness to reveal to a stranger.

“I used to play” he said. Then he put down the violin as if it had burned his hands, and abruptly walked away.

I was troubled when I got home, even after that nice day spent browsing and a great lunch. I sat and wondered if there was a ‘violin’ in my own life…one, or maybe more. I thought about the ‘violins’ in other people’s lives.

And then I imagined what it might be like if we were to have a tag sale for all the neglected or abandoned things that matter so. Not trinkets, but dreams, people, opportunities.

I saw a long table…

…here, the happiness…that simple, obvious thing we often scramble to complicate.

…over there, the little things and the big; our shy or brave dreams dancing with uncertainty, longing to grow into something beautiful, useful, rewarding and real.

…and next to those, the love, perfectly imperfect…the trust, the faith, the tenderness, the passion: like fire and the sea.

Yes, here they all are.

How strange to imagine them on display, and with a price tag attached to each one. Yes, like at a tag sale.

So then…which ones have tags that say SOLD? Did any get sold? Who were they sold to? And in exchange for what?

Surely, I didn’t sell any ‘violins’ in my life. Or did I? Did you?

Why? Was it fear, borrowed expectations, convenience, laziness, selfishness, confusion, money? What excuse came to purchase any one of those fondest of dreams our souls were born to sing, touch and hold forever?

I shuddered. Our souls can not live in empty houses, in the absence of our ‘violins’. We can always learn how to play, or start playing again, can’t we?

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