A Beautiful Harp ……

…… can’t always play beautiful music.

No matter how beautiful this magnificent instrument looks, it’s only as good as its strings.

Monday night, as I sat through the funeral of my stepmother, tears rolling down my face at yet another part of my life that is gone, the image of a beautiful harp filled my mind.
It came out of nowhere, but it was as clear as if the harp were actually sitting in front of me.
As I studied this harp in my mind, one of its strings suddenly broke. It was an almost violent action and sound that stood in contrast to the beauty of the instrument.
Sometimes the breaking of a harp string can be painful.
If you’re too close.

It didn’t take me long to realize that this beautiful, yet broken
instrument …… was a visual image of my life.
Or rather, of my life since I met Jim.

Meeting him and falling in love with him brought the harp into my life.
All of the people and experiences that came after that filled my beautiful harp with amazing sounding strings.
The music from that harp was often loud, full of joy, love, laughter and sometimes … touching sadness.

And then Jim died.
And just as suddenly, most of the strings on that harp snapped violently, stinging anyone and anything in their path.
After that, the harp just sat …… in its brokenness.


It occurred to me, as I sat in that funeral home Monday night, that each breaking string represented another connection with Jim that was now gone.
So seeing that string break at that moment, wasn’t actually losing my stepmother, but losing another part of my life that contained Jim.

I thought of all of those broken strings, and the lost people or things they represented.
My mother in law.
People who withdrew from my life.
The sale of our home.
The sale of our lake house.
The death of a friend of ours.
The divorce of friends of ours.
Our children …… graduating, growing, graduating again …… marrying.
Moving to New York.
Leaving Kingwood.
Selling his car.

There are so many more strings that have broken.
So many more ties to Jim that have been lost.
The more they break …… the lonelier, and sometimes more broken, I feel.

closeup of harp

But here’s the thing.
The most important thing.
The harp doesn’t have to stay broken.
New strings can be added.
Notice that I didn’t say that strings can be “replaced”.
Because they can’t.
And that’s ok.
They need to be remembered and honored and treasured for what each of them added to the beauty of the instrument.

And then new strings can be installed.
All it takes is a little determination.
And the desire to hear beautiful music again.

But most importantly …… it’s asking for help from the God who’s been loving us and waiting for us all along.

I’ve found that he adds the very best strings …… when I get out of His way.

Ironically enough …… the same events that can break a string …… can also put in a new one.
Moving to New York.
Selling “our” home in order to start the next part of my life.
Children graduating. And thriving.
And marrying.

New strings can be added as often as you recognize them.
Son #4.
Little Man.
Moving to Waco.
Gracie.                                                                                                                                                         Making new friends.                                                                                                                 Reconnecting with old ones.
Continuing to make memories.
Continuing to count blessings.

A harp needs to have strings replaced periodically in order to sound its best.
And even though new strings bring beauty …… there will still be pain each time an old one breaks.
Each time I lose another connection to Jim.

It’s this thing called “life” …… and it comes with the territory …… of living.

My harp will continue to play, and will continue to cause pain sometimes. The only way to avoid that is to leave it sitting in a corner, collecting dust.
And missing out on its extraordinary, beautiful music.
That …… I cannot do.

I’ll continue to listen to its music, feel the pain of each broken string, and lovingly add new ones as needed, with God’s help.
Because I can’t bear the thought of never seeing, or hearing, its beauty again.
And remembering Jim each time it plays.

kim webby harp 2

6 thoughts on “A Beautiful Harp ……

  1. oakhoopscoach

    So beautifully written Janine. As always, thank you for sharing so openly. So so sorry that you have had yet another loss, and another connection with Jim lost. But it makes my heart happy to read that you are counting the blessings of your “new strings”. Love you


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