Today, October 4th, when this column goes out, we will conclude our Fall Book Study, Dinners With Ruth A Memoir on the Power of Friendships by Nina Totenberg. It has been a wonderful month of fellowship and storytelling as we read this book about friendship.
In the next to last chapter, Nina Totenberg diverges from storytelling related to her friends and tells the story of the return of her father’s lost Stradivarius, a long-lost friend of a different kind. Her father, Roman Totenberg was an accomplished violinist known worldwide. His instrument of choice was a three-hundred-year-old Stradivarius. That instrument was stolen and never returned during his lifetime; a deep loss felt by everyone. The violin was found after his death and that story is related in this book. I’ll leave it to those interested to read that chapter.
It is a quote at the end of the chapter that caught my attention. Stradivarius owners, of course, are really only guardians of these great artistic instruments. That is certainly accurate. But it is also true, I think, that we human beings are really only guardians of that great gift of friendship that develops in our lives over the years. Friendship is something that cannot be preplanned or programmed. We don’t buy friendship. Often our most lasting friendships develop between us and others who have different backgrounds and experiences. We can’t predict where the harmony of friendship will emerge. Yet, we know, as we look back at those friendships that touch us deeply, we have been caretakers of something wonderful. As guardians, we handle our friendships with care because they are so important to our very well-being.
Let us give thanks for the gift of friendship. It is a gift of grace.