The Shattered Music Box


A number of years ago I was preparing to teach an early morning religious class for our youth. It was centered on the gift of “spikenard” that Mary used to anoint the head and feet of the Savior just prior to his death. The lesson asked the instructor to bring to class a memorable “gift” that they had been given, and then tell the class about the gift and its background. I immediately thought of several, one of which was a porcelain music box statue of “The Little Drummer Boy” one of my sisters gave to me almost thirty years ago. I dug through our Christmas decorations and there it was. I listened to its chime sounding the familiar tune.

Early the next morning, around 5AM, I put my cherished statue on the back seat of the car and then drove to the church building. It was a typical winter day; dark and cold. I pulled into the parking lot, got out and opened the back door of the car to get my things. To my horror, as soon as I opened the door, the “Little Drummer Boy” fell out of the car door and crashed onto the pavement. Pieces went flying all over the parking lot pavement. I stood there surveying the horrible scene in disbelief! Splinters of porcelain were everywhere! I just couldn’t believe it! The drummer boy’s body was in four pieces and the base was in five pieces! The musical components were completely exposed. My grief was mixed with the need to get ready for my class. My first thought was to toss the pieces into the garbage; yet I hesitated. I so loved it. Quickly I gathered up as many pieces as I could see. I placed them in the car and went in to teach the class.

Upon returning home, I painstakingly began the “reconstruction” of “The Little Drummer Boy”. I was mad and sad as I started to glue each piece together. Eventually “The Little Drummer Boy” took on shape. In the end, half an arm was missing and cracks were visible in several locations. A few splinters of porcelain were still sitting on the table, with no logical place in which to glue them. Still, he looked pretty good! I slowly picked it up and surveyed it from all angles. Then I gently wound it up. The sweet melody of the music was still the same. It floated on the air and I sat back and enjoyed it. As battered as my drummer boy looked, the music he played was still as sweet and rewarding as before. Maybe I could find another one on the internet, but, well… it wouldn’t be the same! I will guard him a little better, next time!

And so, the lesson I learned that morning is that sometimes life treats us like “the little drummer boy.” Many times we come out of trials and events looking haggard and worn. Perhaps we are missing an arm or leg or a foot. Splinters of our life might be in the parking lot or we can’t make sense of what’s left of it all! But the Savior will not throw us into the garbage because he loves us infinitely more than I love my music box, and he will help us put our lives back together. We may not look the same; we may not feel the same. But we can play the same beautiful melody that we have always played! We can still bless the lives of others! Look to the Savior for healing. Look for His saving grace! We can still be a “thing” of beauty, even in moments of great tragedy!

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