Ch. 61 The Music Within

The Music Within
(C) Steven G. O'Dell 2011

The old craftsman set the final piece of exotic wood inlay into the lid of the music box and smiled with satisfaction. Once the glue was dried, he would oil the wood and polish the entire box with loving care and then give it to his sweetheart for her sixtieth birthday. He closed his eyes and thought of how it reflected her own qualities. He had put every ounce of love and skill he possessed into this particular piece and hoped she would love it as much as he loved her.


Linda was feeling 'one of those days'. Hard to explain, but even harder to experience personally. She felt old and useless. She was tired, weak and thought of herself as crippled by age. She had ceased nearly entirely to see her talents and value as a woman and a human being. She was as worn out inside as she thought of herself on the outside. The day was overcast, gloomy and cold as she walked about in a daze. She was supposed to meet someone soon; someone who loved her deeply. Linda wasn't sure she was in the mood right now for meetings, even with someone who loved her, but she would 'bite the bullet' and proceed.

The antique shop seemed to call to Steven in some strange way. Although he liked old furniture and impeccable craftsmanship, antique shops were not the kind of places he was wont to frequent, yet there was something in this one that beckoned him to enter.

On the surface, it seemed much similar to any other antique shop, but there was still this feeling that somewhere, somehow, a hidden treasure awaited him. Wandering from aisle to aisle, Steven inspected each article he passed, admiring the fine workmanship and care that had gone into the making of them. He reflected on the fact that with the advent of the industrial revolution had come the apparent demise of quality and pride of workmanship. How sad for the world, he thought.

It was in the last aisle that he saw it, with a fine layer of dust, sitting alone on the top shelf. There was no reason it should have caught his eye and yet it did, oddly. As he reached overhead to pull it from the shelf, he felt a warmth rush through him from head to toe. Holding the old music box in both hands, Steven admired it and recognized the fine detail and care that had gone into its making. Every part fit like a glove to a hand, every inlay cut perfectly and placed carefully, with no gaps or hint of misalignment. The craftsman who had made this box was a true master. Wiping the dust from the lid, he took it to the front window, where it could catch some natural light and just as he did, the clouds seemed to part and the sun shone brightly through the window and onto the box, causing him to catch his breath and hold it for a moment, admiring what he knew instantly to be a real treasure.

"Ah, I see you know fine workmanship when you hold it." It was the owner of the store, who had come in quietly from the back room.

"Yes, sir, it's wonderful. A lot of love went into its making."

"Shall I tell you it's story?"

"It has a story?" Steven raised his eyebrows in surprise.

"It certainly has. A wonderful story at that. It was made by a real craftsman, a master at his art, which you can easily see. What you cannot see is why it was made. The master craftsman was a man who was deeply in love with his wife of sixty years. He made it for her sixtieth anniversary and presented it to her over a special dinner at her favorite restaurant. She was thrilled with it, of course. It plays her favorite song."

"How wonderful that must have been."

"Yes, it was. They had another ten years after that night. She passed away on their seventieth anniversary. He was heartbroken, but had the years of memories to console him for the last few years of his own life. The music box came into my possession about seven years ago. Since then, it has been up on that shelf, waiting for the right person to find it and recognize its worth. Are you that person?"

Steven paused without words. He looked at the owner for a moment and then again at the music box and smiled with a joy he hadn't felt in some time. He knew exactly who would be the recipient of this very special gift.


"I found it. At the last minute, I found it for you." Steven smiled across the table at Linda and waited.

"Found what?"

"The perfect gift to show my love for you and to convince you to marry me."

"We've been through this before. I'm getting old and my helath isn't what it was. You would be getting a broken woman, an imperfect package."

"I know what kind of package I would be getting, better than you know it yourself." He reached down beside his chair and picked up a gift for her. "This is for you...and it is a lot like you."

Linda carefully unwrapped the gift and found the music box to be a thing quite beautiful. It was immediately apparent why he had chosen this box. Everything about it was exquisite and outstanding. It had been freshly oiled to bring out the grain of the woods and the pearlescent inlays complemented the various exotic wood inlays.

"It's gorgeous."

"As are you. I only wish you could see yourself as I do. You are a daughter of God and loved by Him more than you could ever imagine in all your days. You see only the frailties you suffer. Like the wood that needed to be treated with oil to bring out the beauty of the grain, you need the gentle oil of love to bring out the beauty within yourself. Like the sparkle of the shell inlay, you will shine with the affection I will give you freely. And like the song within the music box, you will have a heart that sings with the love you will feel once you let yourself go to be the woman you were meant to be from the start."

Gazing into his eyes, she saw that he meant every word. She saw, perhaps for the first time, the depth of his love for her. A tear was forming in his eye and that told her everything she needed to know. Breaking eye contact, she opened the lid of the music box and within seconds her breath was taken away.

"I can't believe it...that's my favorite piece of music ever."

"I know. I was led to this box this afternoon, just as I was led to you, Linda. We were meant to be together, just as you were meant to have this music box. I see the beauty within you, not just the exterior, which I think is beautiful, too, by the way. I know there is a song within you that is aching to come out and be sung. I want to be with you when it is sung. Is that so wrong?"

She shook her head, crying silently.

"Then I ask you this one thing as I give this gift and I will never asked another thing of you. Will you please marry me and let me bring out that beautiful song I know is within you?"

Again, all she could do was cry, but with a gasp she reached across the table and took his hand, smiled and nodded her consent.

The song would finally be sung. The music within would be set free at last.

Story © by respective author(s)
Licensed under the Creative Commons License