I survived my first “gig” leading worship with my guitar. [I’ve spent a lot of time practicing and little time writing lately.]
I’m happy (and surprised) to report that no one covered their ears or walked out. Aside from that I can’t say much more about my guitar playing; only that despite the occasional missed chord and somewhat awkward strumming patterns we actually worshiped Jesus and in the end that’s all that matters.
Learning to play the guitar has been a good experience. Along with giving me greater empathy for Claire whenever she struggles to learn a new skill in her schoolwork it has done something for my spirit. I couldn’t exactly put my finger on it until last night.
Our parish mission is going on this week. Father Malley is teaching a series on the Theology of Beauty and focusing on the mystics. Toward the end of last night’s session he referenced a book on contemplative prayer that talked about practical ways to develop contemplative prayer habits and to experience the beauty of God. Interestingly, one way he discussed was learning to play an instrument and surrounding ourselves with the beauty of music. That’s when I had one of those light bulb moments.
The last couple of months have been challenging for me. Actually the last year has been somewhat emotionally exhausting. Just to clarify, I’m not in “dire” circumstances of any kind. I have much for which to be grateful; I am fortunate in that my children are healthy, my marriage is securely intact and all of our physical needs are more than taken care of. But even still, there have been enough waves in our life lately that it seems like just when I get my head above water another wave engulfs me.
In the midst of all this “stuff” my friend Tina challenged me to learn to play the guitar so that I could lead music for some meetings and a women’s retreat this spring. I’m a deadline driven person (a euphemism for “procrastinator”) and this was just the thing I needed to force me to finally learn how to play; I’ve been picking up the guitar off and on for about 6 years now without much progress.
I don’t think Tina knew just how God would use this. [Then again, maybe she did; six years ago someone put her in the exact same position as she’s put me in.]
Learning to play the guitar has been a welcomed distraction from some of the harder things going on in my life. But more than that, practicing the guitar and playing worship music forces me to contemplate Him more. It requires that I spend more time praising Him with my heart and less time trying to figure things out with my head. Sometimes I can get so stuck in my head analyzing things. For me this is not a good thing. On the days when I’ve been “stuck” and felt like doing nothing I’ve forced myself to pick up the guitar and sing and cry out to Him. This gift of music has been healing for my soul.
So, here I am, 38 years old, finally learning to play. And receiving a cool fringe benefit for my soul and my relationship with God. [Thanks for helping to stretch me Tina. Once again I’m blessed by your friendship.]
Question for you today…
In what ways can you slow down today and spend more time contemplating Him with your heart?