Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Guy Who Played Guitar

I knew a guy who could play the guitar but refused to do so. He said it was because it was such an easy way to impress women. Don't get me wrong, Sam really liked women. But all the more reason, he said, not to be THAT guy, the one who picks up the guitar to impress women.

Sam was in his thirties before he found a girl who would marry him. I never asked him whether he ever played for her, or if he won her without plucking those heartstrings.

Reluctant as I am to admit it, I am one of THOSE women, the ones who might swoon over the worship leader, the campfire strummer, the man who takes you out on the lake in the rowboat on a summer evening and plays a song for you that he wrote himself... My friend Dave proposed to his wife that way; it can happen. But for most of us it's pure fantasy.

My clear-thinking friends will say, why does it have to be the guy? Why can't you learn how to play the guitar for yourself?

Sadly, I seem to lack the knack. I earned an "A" in a college guitar class for learning all the thory and 30+ chords, but I couldn't get fingering, strumming, and singing at the same time - or even two out of three. Finally, a few years ago, I gave my guitar away to a houseguest who showed more promise.

Do you think I should ask the roommate if I can give her autoharp a try? Yes, she has an one! I'd need to get it some new strings but could probably learn to play the thing without too much trouble. And it's much less, ah, penetrating, than my current collection of musical instruments - a small collection of wooden and plastic recorders and the nice silver trumpet I play from time to time.

* * *

Singing is really what I like best. Used to be that group singing was practically a daily experience for me. I was part of a young adult ministry that went in for long worship sets every Tuesday night... Thursdays was choir. We had singing in church on Sundays, and most mornings at the office as well. I finally outgrew the Y.A. ministry, choir has been on and off, and we've had less and less music at the office as the years have gone by. As our office team disperses, over the next few months, gone are my hopes of seeing a revival of music for mornings prayers.

So where am I going to find people to sing with? Our church choir is just starting to pick up steam and we're not very good, even though Cecile and Angela and I joked about going on the road as "The Three Altos." And I'm not really talented/skilled enough for a community choir or orchestra.

Well, technology is a wonderful thing. I may not be able to go to morning prayer any more, or find that guy who plays guitar, but musical companionship can be had for the asking. Guys like Rich Mullins are alive and well on my MP3 player, on my computer, in my car. In a few minutes I'm on my way to the rec center to work out, and James Taylor is coming with me.

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