When Guitar Man Meets a Miracle-Maker
It’s not every day one has the opportunity to witness a miracle.
But it’s moments like that that could turn the world around, and I was blessed to experience such on a recent trip to Charleston, SC.
Bill and I were perusing the street market–enjoying the handmade crafts and pieces of artwork, talking about what we might take home to our family. Exiting one section we were about to enter another, when we noticed a man who’d set up between the two, a blanket of stars his only rooftop, aside from the nylon canopy over his wares.
We stopped to get a closer look. Lined up on two tables were handcrafted guitars, each made from a cigar box. The man, a portly fellow with a white beard, looked up from tuning one of his guitars, preparing to allow a patron to try his hand at playing the instrument. “Hello,” he said from behind his mask, his eyes shifting upward for a moment as he acknowledged us.
“Hello,” we echoed. “Nice night,” Bill added.
“Indeed,” the musician artist answered, though he was already looking down again at the guitar, carefully tightening the strings before handing it to a man wearing a ball cap. He began to play, the picking of strings filling that space in the market with quiet melody. Bill and I stood mesmerized.
Before walking on, Bill leaned in to inspect more closely one of the instruments, and the bearded man in bib overalls proclaimed proudly, “Make ’em myself.”
“Really nice,” Bill replied, plucking a single string. “Wish I played.”
“Never too old to learn,” the man said, then turned his attention again to Mr. Ball Cap who’d, by this time, moved on from playing simple scales to his own rendition of “Dueling Banjos” on the cigar box-guitar.
Bill nodded, and we continued to the next pavilion, the music following us until it faded, drowned out by the sound of other evening shoppers.
Some time later, we were finished with our browsing, having discovered a lovely piece of art–a pair of sunflowers turned toward the sun. Its artist shared that she’d painted it while visiting Cashiers, a town not far from us. “You live in a beautiful part of the world,” she’d stated with a smile, then thanked us for our business.
We turned to make our way back in the direction we’d first come, and that’s when I had the blessing of witnessing what I can only call a miracle. Preparing to again pass the cigar box-guitar man, I stopped. There was the bearded, bib-wearing gentleman sitting tall in his folding chair. His eyes met those of a shopper, and they struck up a conversation. I had to listen intently as the patron leaned toward the craftsman to whisper in his ear.
“I want to do something,” I heard him say.
“Go on,” Cigar Box-Guitar Man replied.
“I want to give you this.” He held up a tight roll of money. “This is the amount for your finest guitar,” he continued. “I can’t play, but someone’s gonna stop and want one of these fine instruments. He or she will make beautiful music, which will make this world a better place, don’t you think?”
Guitar Man nodded. “Yes, sir. That’s true indeed.”
“We could all use a little music, don’t you think? I mean, to make this world a better place, bring us all together?”
Again, Guitar Man’s head spoke his answer, though his eyes still held a bit of confusion.
“So, I want you to pick someone–whomever you think best–and use this so that person can walk away with one of your guitars. You know, already paid for. Can you do that?”
Guitar Man’s eyes registered his understanding, and I’m quite certain there was the beginning of a smile behind his black mask. “Yes, sir. I understands rightly. I sure do.” He paused, then continued. “I know what I’m-a gonna do. It’ll be a child, if’n that’s okay.”
Generous Man’s smile could be seen plainly from where I stood watching. “Oh, yes. That’s a perfect plan,” he said. “You just pick the right one. You’ll know who.”
Guitar Man took the money Generous Man held out and tucked it into the front pocket of his faded bib overalls. “Thank ya kindly,” he said. “I promise to pick just the right child.”
Generous Man placed a solid hand upon the shoulder of Guitar Man. “Very good. And … God bless you.”
As Generous Man turned to go, I’m not sure if he heard Guitar Man or not, because it wasn’t anything more than the release of breath from his mouth. But I heard. This single expression spoken by a man selling cigar box-guitars between pavilions at the street market was a simple exhale that mixed with the May evening air.
And I, too–though silently, uttered only in my heart–exclaimed the same.
What else is one to say when she’s privileged enough to witness a miracle in a world where there often seems to be a shortage of such?
Indeed, Guitar Man was blessed that night in a manner he may never experience again. Maybe he will. Maybe he’ll even be the vehicle by which a miracle occurs, because sometimes it just takes experiencing one to stir the desire to spread the same elsewhere, like a ripple on water.
This simple act of kindness that likely didn’t cost Generous Man too much, a couple hundred dollars at most, just might serve as a catalyst to perpetuate immeasurable generosity and kindness beyond. Who knows?
What I know is that the miracle I witnessed on a pleasant May evening speaks so much more. Just as a child will walk away with the gift of a guitar that’s already been purchased by another, Jesus, too, paid in full ahead of time so we can each walk with the free gift of His grace. Undeserved. Available to all.
I’m so thankful for Jesus, and I’m beyond thankful for this particular Miracle-Maker–yes, for this generous man. I’m blessed abundantly every day by him, because this man has a name. His name is Bill, and he’s my husband.
Thank you, God, for those who are generous simply because they understand the gift of Your amazing grace. It’s not in the Beatitudes, but if it was, perhaps it would go something like–“Blessed are the generous, for they understand best the sacrifice of Your Son.” Amen.