When I was in the 7th grade, I played the clarinet in our junior high school marching band. I started playing the clarinet in the 5th grade, so I was not an expert. Our band was scheduled to march in a yearly parade in my hometown.

One day, about two months before the parade, I dropped my clarinet and broke off nearly half an inch of the mouthpiece, known to woodwind instrument players as the aperture. The clarinet was useless. It could make no sound. I didn’t tell my parents or my band teacher. I was embarrassed and sorry.

For the next two months, I faked it. I showed up at band practice and mouthed the clarinet and pressed the keys, but no sound was coming out. There was just enough of the mouthpiece left to hold it between my lips, and no one could tell I was not really playing my instrument. I was glad there were other clarinet players to cover my silence. I really wanted to be in the parade so I kept up the charade. On the day of the parade, I marched with the rest of the band and the following week, I finally told my parents. By that time school was almost out. As summer approached, I left behind my clarinet skills and moved on to a Bonanza mini-bike and never looked back.

That story lay in my memory for all these years and for some reason, the Lord brought it back just this week. I think I understand why. Some of you feel like I did as a 7th grader with a broken clarinet, except you are an adult. You are marching along with the rest of the people in your life not making the sound you were created to make. You are a silent gift lost in the crowd. You have assumed this is your lot in life. God has another plan. He sees your significance and wants you to make the unique sound He created you to release, but He must first heal that broken part of you that has chosen to remain silent. Until that healing takes place, you will continue to march through life in silence.

Maybe if I had told my band teacher or my parents about my broken clarinet, I would still be playing it today and be part of a jazz band pulling a weekend gig in some club on my off hours. I will never know that because I decided to march on in silence thinking that was my only option and sadly, my calling in the world of music.


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