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Nightmare Comes True*A Missed Gig*A Life Saved

Musicians have nightmares of crazy performances and lessons, disintegrating instruments, unplayable notes, murder by the stand partner, and of course, missing the rehearsal or concert.

Just beginning my career as a free-lancer in the D.C. area, I had a very bizarre experience. Patrick and I were newly married with one car and amazingly managed to be in at least two places at once via juggling, car-pooling, and waiting. I received a call from a contractor for whom I had not yet worked. Yes, new opportunities and grocery money! I cannot recall the music or why a chamber orchestra was hired, but the rehearsal was to be at a large high school on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

It was a beautiful sunny, spring day perfect for sightseeing. Patrick’s brother was visiting, so we made a plan. The three of us and the cello crammed into our little green Datsun B210 and drove around the beltway to the school. The cello and I got out at the front entrance, and the two guys sped away to enjoy our nation’s capital. Their plan was to come back for me in three and a half hours. No problem.

Boring! The front door of the huge, spread-out school was locked. There was plenty of time before the downbeat. I began walking the perimeter of the school, carrying one of those old Jaeger coffin-weight cello cases, and trying to pry open every entrance I could find. A few cars were parked in various parking lots. I saw perhaps six people and asked about a rehearsal or if anyone had seen another musician. Zilch!. I don’t know how many times I traipsed around the school or how many miles I must have walked.

Remember: No cell phones. No Clark Kent phone booths. Absolutely no way to contact the contractor. Definitely no way to contact Patrick. Nightmare comes true.

The odd thing is that I don’t think I panicked long. I had done everything I could do. My cello and I simply parked under a tree on a green hill. Two and a half hours to wait.

I don’t remember if I had a book or what I thought about, but I can vividly see myself sitting on the grass under the shade of a lone tree. After some time, I noticed a man (probably in his thirties) walking up the hill towards me. He sat down in the grass a few feet from me and began talking. I remember his face but not how the conversation began. Then he asked me if I thought life had meaning. I don’t recall my exact words. I said something to the effect that I believed God is Love and loves each of us and has a plan and purpose for our lives. Quite suddenly, this man jumped up, said “Thank you. You saved my life”, and ran down the hill and out of sight. It was very odd, very quick, and confusing.

After he was gone, I realized, “Oh, my God, he was going to take his life!”

As soon as we were back home, I started calling the contractor. It took a day or two to reach him. His first words to me, screaming, were: “Barbara Kavanaugh!!! I have never ever been so embarrassed in all my life!!!!!!” Of course, I profusely apologized. And I told him exactly what had happened. He was silent. And, he never hired me for another gig.

I know I was at the right school. If I could put music to this story, it might be the theme of The Twilight Zone.

God is truly the Master Orchestrator. The melodies, harmonies, and rhythms He weaves within our lives, with lives of others, and through the lives of all creation is a Zone we can never fathom


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