Saturday, November 12, 2005

Guitar hugs

One blessing I am receiving is A's growing expertise on the guitar. Because of his determination and dedication to developing his craft, his skill is growing rapidly. I'm amazed at what he can do at age 12. I never have to remind him to practice (in contrast to his piano lessons, which I am now relieved that he quit), I rather have to sometimes make him stop playing guitar because it's time for bed. Every spare minute, he picks up the guitar and plays. He plays choruses we sing in church, he finds tabs on the internet to learn of his favorite rock and roll songs. He's able to play with me as I sing the words to the piece he's working on. He's found a finger plucking tab in his Acoustic Magazine for "Silent Night" and is working on it for a Christmas duet with his teacher.

Tonight as I heard him playing, I had the amazing realization of what a comfort it is to hear the guitar - and why. In contrast to piano, which was a chore for me for 12 long years with lots of practicing (including nagging, tantrums, spankings and tears) with no real outlet for playing, I have such good memories around guitar playing. They start with Dad accompanying me singing solos and going on to brothers Jim and John playing in services, sharing their heart, their talent and sometimes their original work.

But closest and most tender in my memory are the times I listened to my just-older-brother Paul play and sing his original songs. The idea that he would even share them with his little sister is amazing to me now as I look back over it. I was facinated by his song-writing ability and have kept words in my poetry file to one of the treasured love songs he wrote. The angst and pain of love and loss were heart-searching then and now. When I was at college while Paul was there, I would often go see his band perform and I was so proud of him. A couple of times I would go to his apartment after he left school and just enjoy hearing him play, caressing the strings, humming a new song, testing new chords, finding his voice.

So when I hear my son, I am not only filled with a mother's gratefulness for her child's ability and creativity, I also hear great memories. It warms my being like a warm hug under a snuggly blanket. I pray and trust that the future will be so much more of the same warm experiences as A shares his gifts.

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful reflection! And so you have me reflecting...

    My brothers too were guitar players. They loved playing bluegrass music and old folk tunes. One of my brothers plays the banjo, another the mandolin and one also learned to make dulcimers (I have five-brothers!).

    It was through their influence I bought my own guitar and became 'proficient' in playing -- that is bread-and-butter chords in about two keys. It's goes without saying the capo was my best friend!

    Just Friday I was riffling through our old records (yes records) and resurrected an oldie by 'Doc Watson' - with stuff like "Shady Grove" and "Mama Don't Allow No Music."