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It had been a long day. Frustrations with payoffs, a missing file, the usual feelings of being the bottom of the totem pole. And on top of that, I had a lot of deliveries to do. I tried to cheer myself up with the thought of the audiobook I’ve been listening to on deliveries lately.

But apparently my sync didn’t go well this morning, and I was missing  a few files. As in, the next 8 chapters of my book. So at the very start of deliveries, I found myself unable to continue my book. I gritted my teeth, and put on some music. Then I took the wrong exit. Had to wind my way through town instead of the quick & easy Hwy 63 route. My frustration mounted.

Then came the two traffic incidents. One almost got me another car in my back seat. Squealing tires, life flashing before my eyes… that one left me so nervous & twitchy that it lead to The other, which might have gotten me a ticket from the infamous red-light camera. I can’t even begin to tell you the terror with which I’ve been dreading that ever since the evil thing was installed. I usually go around it at all costs, but I just wanted to finish my route and crawl under my desk until the end of the day.

So by the time I was back downtown, I was angry, frustrated, and shaking. I didn’t want to wander around looking for a parking space. With the luck I’d been having, I was sure another traffic incident was imminent. When I saw an empty spot on 9th, and saw the 9th Street Fiddler playing there, I decided that even if I had to walk an extra block, this was my space. The fiddler had just finished a tune, so I walked on past, wishing I’d gotten to hear something.

As I walked to the bank, I thought of fun fiddle tunes he might play. Then, as is almost a reflex when thinking about fiddling, my thoughts turned to Ashokan Farewell. The reasons this is my favorite fiddle tune are many. But suffice it to say, I like it so much, it was the processional for my wedding. So as I marched through the bank, I played it in my head, fingering it on my wrist, thinking I should probably find it on my playlist when I got back to work.

I got my business done and walked back toward my car, still playing Ashokan in my head. And then as I came around the corner of 9th Street, I heard it. He was playing Ashokan Farewell. I don’t burst into tears in public… EVER. But I was so stripped down emotionally already, it just hit me hard. So I stood there crying behind my sunglasses, and the fiddler stopped playing.

I tried to explain to him what had got me worked up. But it probably didn’t make any sense. Unless there is some way to explain how deeply that song is written into my heart, it probably doesn’t make sense to anyone. So I had some conversation with the guy. He probably thought I was loony. I did manage to turn the conversation to bluegrass & celtic jam sessions around town (which I’m still far too nervous to attend).

Then a girl who was parked nearby started asking folks around for a nickel for the meter. I had some parking change, so I gave her a few nickels. She was immensely grateful, and I was happy to be able to pay it forward a bit. I also tossed a 5 into the fiddler’s case. I’d planned to give him something, since I appreciate people who choose to live by means of their art, even if it’s not a glamorous living. But he’d earned more than a couple quarters or a dollar. Honestly, he earned more than $5, but that’s what I had.

God used that random fiddler to make me feel loved. I’m not sure anything but a God-engineered moment like that could have made me feel better today. The darkness of my thoughts before that was pretty… ugly. I’m not jumping for joy now, but I do feel loved. Known and loved. It’s one thing when a meaningful song comes up on my playlist, or even on the radio. But to have it randomly played by a fiddler on 9th Street… that’s a God thing. He knew just the thing to touch my heart in that moment, and that makes me feel pretty darn special.

Click here to hear a clip of Ashokan Farewell

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