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Tears of Joy
How shall I begin the story of a miracle? I will commence this tale with a shadowy flashback into my early elementary school years. I was skipped from kindergarten into first grade after the first term, and as anyone can imagine, I did not have any friends in my new learning environment. As I was trying to focus on my studies, the students one year my senior bullied me countless times. Even after I had made new acquaintances, the harassment continued well into my middle-school years and freshman year at high school. This suffering was brought upon me due to my intelligence and talent at simultaneously academics, art, and especially, music.
The previous year, in February 2007, when I was in eighth grade, professional world-renowned violinist Mark Wood had visited the high school to perform a concert with orchestra students from across the county. He had recognized my talent immediately and had me perform center stage during one of the songs with him, along with two high school seniors. That had been most definitely, one of the greatest days of my life. My efforts had finally been recognized by an outsider--and a very celebrated one at the least. So, as March was strolling its way over, all of us orchestra students anxiously awaited the second coming of this raven-haired, violin-wielding rock star. Several of us orchestra and choir students purchased tickets, hoping that one of us would have Lady Luck on our side the night of the seventh. One of Mark’s own electric Stingray violins would be raffled off during the concert.
Rehearsals were a nightmare. Since many of the students participating were not actually part of the orchestra, practices were held every week with all the violinists from the school--which pertained to all grade levels. Two of them, a male and female, were seniors; one male was a junior; and lastly, there was a freshman girl who was rumored to be extremely skilled at the violin, due to her father’s profession as a music teacher. Naturally, my fellow classmates had created a rival that pinned those four musicians against me. Nearly every school day was met by the incessant nagging and bragging of the other students, and sometimes, even teachers.
“She can do this, this, and that…She‘s been playing for so many years…I bet you can‘t do that,” classmates’ voices rose in worship of the others while I was in their presence.
Finally, the legendary Mark Wood and his lovely wife, Laura Kaye, arrived for their two-day residency. Surprisingly, they both had remembered me as “the purple violinist” who was one of their favorites. Eventually, as our bond grew, I would converse with them backstage during the breaks, among other things. Laura and I exchanged e-mail addresses. Mark autographed my copy of Jimmy Page’s biography that I had brought along to read during my spare time. Apparently, this beautiful connection emerging between us greatly perturbed many of my colleagues. Mark announced the second day during lunchtime that I would be “test-driving” the electric Stingray violin, which was going to be raffled off during the show. Later that day, Laura declared that I would be singing the first verse of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” with her. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I returned to rehearsal from lunch, shocked that my violin had been tampered with.
When I arrived home to prepare for the concert, a clandestine surprise awaited me. I had already fixed my violin up for the performance, and quite trustingly, as I pulled the music folder out of my backpack, I discovered that over half of the music I was due to play that night was missing. I was in a horrible fit of rage, literally crying rivers of boiling tears.
“The one time it seems like everything is going to be perfect, someone has to go and ruin the whole entire day for me! I’m so sick of it, it’s not even funny! How am I going to perform now?” my voice resonated throughout the paper-thin walls of the tiny apartment.
I had kept most of my feats that were scheduled to happen a secret, in order to surprise my mother at the performance. She assured me that she would travel to the school to pick up the sheet music from the choir teacher before the concert. I was clearly told to change clothing, tune my violin, and not to worry about a thing. Everything would go well. But unbeknownst to her, my gift to her had been sabotaged by some envious, cowardly classmate of mine. The remainder of the daylight, I was shaken, battling the bad vibrations obscuring me throughout the afternoon.
Luckily, my mother had acquired the sheet music in time. I had arrived early in order to prepare the Stingray violin. As I shuffled in my seat, awaiting show time, I was quite literally praying to God that nothing would go wrong again. I would never be able to live with myself if anything had gone gravely wrong. The storm of torment that would come soon after the concert--if, say, the Stingray’s equipment had been tampered with and did not function properly during my solo--would leave me dead inside. I had suffered enough at school, and this would be the icing on the cake for my adversaries.
The first three songs went marvelously well, with my little fill-ins and solo earning plenty of applause after the third number. The raffle was next. My mother and I had purchased two raffle tickets, with the numbers ending in “four-seven-six” and “four-seven-seven”. A talavera-styled mirror and a vase were presented to their rightful owners. The Stingray was saved for the final prize. Mark’s and Laura’s son, the drummer Elijah, pulled out the blessed stub from the glass cup.
“Four-seven-six,” the lady announcer read.
I knew the number sounded familiar, but I could not exactly put my finger on where I had heard it before. I had no clue what was going on. All I could recall was that everything looked blurry and seemed to be moving in slow motion. My mother was hysterical, raised from her seat, waving the ticket around and screaming at me. Involuntarily, I had jumped from my seat like a spring, but I could not respond in any way besides that. It was so surreal, I honestly thought I was dreaming until Mark strolled over to my direction, with microphone in hand.
“Is that your mother?” he inquired in his comforting, familiar voice.
All I could do was nod my head slowly.
“Wow! Congratulations!” Laura exclaimed, grinning from ear to ear.
I had finally snapped out of the spell and hugged Mark, Laura, and Elijah. I had never noticed that the auditorium was completely silent the entire time--save for my mother’s maniacal shrieking--until I was told after the concert.
That night was most definitely the greatest of my entire life. The next month, Mark and Laura sent me the amplifier and effects pedal that corresponded with the Stingray--entirely free of charge. I use the Stingray, its amp, and pedal very regularly. It is unquestionably one of my most prized possessions and I treasure it with all my heart, Just looking back on that day--how it was simply meant to be the worst day of my life--gives me goose bumps and nearly brings tears to my eyes. It was truly a miracle.
From this extraordinary experience, I learned an extremely valuable lesson. No matter how much a person suffers, they will always be rewarded in the end. This taught me that even if you seem like the most insignificant, despised outcast in the universe, Fate will have something else in store for you. I also learned that some predicaments can actually be blessings in disguise. Never would have anyone guessed that the one day that was guaranteed to ruin my life would actually be one of the happiest. The dark exhausted atmosphere of the night of March seventh brought relief to my household and laid many of my problems to rest. Surely, that night, I was crying. But for once, they were finally tears of joy.