Since no one asked...

Why guitar? I don't know. Music has been part of my life, well, from the beginning I guess. I grew up in a church where most hymns were sung a capella. I used to sit along side my mother and sing the alto part. Or, on the rare occasion I was able to sit with my Aunt, I'd get to sing soprano and, thus, the melody.

In elementary school we, like many tortured 4th graders, were subjected to playing the recorder. In fifth grade I graduated to the French Horn. I played that horn from 5th grade right on through my Junior year in college. I still think of myself as a horn player, even though I probably haven't picked it up in over five years.

I also began singing in choir in the 7th grade. I sang in solo and ensemble contests and even went to state with a mixed quartet and won a first place medal. I also went to state as a soloist but choked and earned a third place medal. I don't often tell people that. In college I sang in the concert choir and made the high choir my sophomore year.

The point I'm trying to make is that music made a large part of my youth and young adult experience. But I wasn't great at it. Everyone expected that with my dedication to high school band/college voice that I would naturally be a musician. Or, at least a music teacher. But that never interested me.

I made music because I wanted to make music.

That probably doesn't make sense.

I did it for myself. I did it because I enjoyed it. I did it because it made me feel good. I wasn't good enough to make a living at it nor did I ever have any inclination to do so.

Since college, however, music has been notably absent in my life. I sing in church, of course, and often lead hymns during the service. I sing in the occasional "special music" group for church. But outside that, not much of any thing. I didn't have a CD player in my truck and what is on the radio these days doesn't interest me at all. Besides, listening to music is never as uplifting as making it. The horn isn't an instrument that lends itself to just farting around on (there's a metaphor for you). I really missed singing in a choir, but with three kids, a wife, a dog, two cars and a house payment, who had the time to find a community choir that would have me?

So, we come now to the winter of my 36th year. I had had a horrid year. My mother battled cancer (and won, praise God) while my Aunt battled liver disease and lost (and in a sense, praise God again). I had my own demons of depression and anxiety, plus the beginnings of an obsessive compulsive disorder. I was a mess, worse than I had been in a long time.

My therapist suggested that I pour my energy I had been wasting on obsessing the negative things of my life into something new and positive. I immediately thought of learning guitar. It was something I always wanted to do, it did provide a distraction in a positive way and it brought music back into my life. The neighbors don't mind if I play on the back porch, unlike playing the F. Horn (ha ha). I can pick it up when I feeling down. I can express parts of me that I haven't explored for a long time.

There is no doubt that the guitar is therapy for me. I still struggle with feeling limited in my skills, but I'm coming along. In the meantime, my guitar and I will enjoy the journey together.


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