Friday, February 12, 2010

Strung Too Tight

I’ve been betrayed by my own harp, just when I needed it most.

This past weekend I was suffering from a tension headache which was the product of a stressful week at work. Saturday was busy, but I made time to work on the Sonatina No. 3 by Dussek, as arranged by Kim Robertson. There is something about classical music that seems to put order into my world. I watch for how the melody works, and how the chords flow into each other. Understanding the order of the music helps me to feel that there is an underlying order to life.
But when I approached my harp on Sunday, I immediately discovered a broken second octave C string. I’d have to replace it before I could begin to play. This was a problem. My already bad vision often gets worse with a tension headache. It was very difficult to see the path the string had to thread for levers that I was still unfamiliar with. I tried looking through the bottom, middle and top of my bi-focals, and even tried not using my glasses. There was just no way I could clearly see what I had to do. Somehow, by sheer luck, I finally got the string going where it needed to go, and began winding when the string next to it snapped . . . and so did I.

I won’t repeat what I said at that moment, but when I use that word my husband drops everything and rushes like a linebacker to my rescue. Through gritted teeth I explained to him that I couldn’t see what I was doing, and I really needed to fix these strings now. Knowing that light can help me see, he ran and got his high powered flashlight, and shined it on the levers until I got the strings in place.

It was a perfect lesson – almost a parable. I had spent a week wound so tight that I was bound to snap. I struggled to handle the situation on my own, thereby creating more stress. It was only when I had help and a little “illumination” that I was able to put my world back in order.

My headache is gone now. And when the stress hits this week . . . and it will . . . I won’t let the tension build until I snap.

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