The Varnish

violin_bridge_closeupIf you were playing trivial pursuit and someone asked what the most expensive violin ever sold was, you’d probably lose. Most people would give the answer as a Stradivarius, when in truth, In 2013, a del Gesù sold for almost eighteen million dollars. What makes these instruments so valuable? To understand the instrument, you must learn about their maker.

Antonio Stradivari and Bartolomeo Guarneri, del Gesù, or of Jesus, are considered the greatest violin makers in history. The latter given this title because he added the Latin abbreviation for Jesus and the symbol of the Cross. Both were citizens of Cremona, Italy, and each students of the work of Nicola Amati.  While one’s career spanned decades, the other’s was relatively short. Bartolomeo only producing from the late 1720’s until his death in 1744.

[tweetthis]Our job is not to prove our worth, but to improve their view of themselves.[/tweetthis]

According to scientists, the thing that made the difference wasn’t the carving, or the choice of wood. Most violins are spruce on top, maple on the sides and back, and ebony for the fingerboard whenever it was available. The thing that produced the sound that garnished almost eighteen million was the varnish.

The last thing that each man applied, was what produced their legacy in every instrument. Primer, sealer, ground, color coats, and top coat. Some violin maker’s varnish included egg white, others volcanic ash. In the late eighteenth century oxen blood was even used to give a rich red color.

This amazing liquid combination not only produced the sound cherished by men such as Heifetz and Perlman, it preserved the ancient creations long enough for these modern men to play them. In your work, and mine, what touch do we add that will preserve it for the use of future generations?

As a Minister, I believe that what I do has to be relevant for today’s generation. I also believe that it should be something that younger men can build on. A man should never be jealous of the superior accomplishments of others, especially those younger than them. Our job is not to prove our worth, but to improve their view of themselves.

We should do this, not by applying needless layers of advice, but layers of encouragement and reinforcement. If we are champions of those around us, when in need, they’ll ask for help. If we are critical of others, then we should not expect to impact those we have alienated.

My goal is not to produce a famous legacy of Pruitt clones, but of men who produced something that benefited from my influence. If my life can be a layer of varnish in the lives of others, much like Amati’s influence on Stradivarius and del Gesù, then I will have succeeded in doing the most important thing of all. I will have helped to pour into someone whom The Maestro can use to minister to thousands more.

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