I cannot remember a time when I didn't have music in my life. There is a snapshot of me on my first birthday, standing up in my playpen and dancing to "All Shook Up" by the one and only Elvis. As children, my brother and I would listen endlessly to classical music or, the favorite folk group of the sixties, Peter, Paul and Mary. At age 8, I began learning to play the ukulele and by 10, was playing guitar thanks to the many music lessons, including classical, for which my parents so graciously paid. By the time I was in my teens, the guitar, and the songs I sang, were my best friends.
Of course, at that time in my life, my dream was to become a famous musician. Well, those of you who are reading this blog know that didn't happen. I did earn money through college and into the early 80's playing in restaurants and bars although it was never a full time occupation as it was for my husband during those years (Danny wasn't my husband then; we got married in 2005). When I was pregnant with my first child, my husband and I were really strapped for cash. After many serious discussions and debates, we finally agreed that each of us should sell something of value. He had an expensive piece of photography equipment (I don't remember what it was) and I had my Martin; yes, you heard me right - an acoustic (classical) Martin guitar that I marched stoically down to a guitar specialty store. There, I exchanged my best friend for $300 and cried all the way home. And, as if feeling like a Judas wasn't bad enough, on my arriving at home, I was told by my husband that he had changed his mind about selling his equipment after all. Yes, ladies, the red flag was waving right in my face, but it would be several more painful and disappointing years before I had the courage and conviction to get out of an emotionally abusive relationship.
I was bereft of a guitar for quite some time and, being otherwise occupied with raising children and earning a living, I figured I could get by without it. Then one year for my birthday, my Dad and Mom gave me a sweet, Brazilian-made acoustic. I dabbled with it off and on again and did teach my son and daughter how to play some chords, but my heart was never really in it. I couldn't pick it up and play it without thinking this is a pretty instrument, but it could never be my Martin. Don't get me wrong: I really appreciated the gift of this guitar but I simply could not regain that intense joy I felt when I strummed the Martin.
Fast forward to 2005: Danny and I get married and, as if that grand fortune weren't boon enough, I begin singing with the praise band that he still leads at our church, Kennesaw United Methodist. Hesitant and awkward a bit at first as it had been so long since I'd sung for anyone but myself, I gradually found the groove and have had the time of my life ever since. None of those long years of singing/performing ever brought me the intensity of feeling that singing God's praises has and He has blessed me mightily through this ministry. I'll put a link to our music at the end of this blog.
About three years ago, I shared the story I just shared with you with Danny. Little did I know that my tale had planted the seed of an idea in his mind. Two weeks before my 53rd birthday, he announced that if he had to wait one more day to give me my birthday present, he'd surely go out of his mind. Not one to turn down a gift any day of the year, I informed him that this was absolutely fine and closed my eyes as he instructed me to. When I was told that I could open my eyes again, they could hardly register what lay before them. The guitar case with the green velvet lining was open and in it lay a gorgeous acoustic guitar that, unlike my Brazilian, had the built-in ability to be hooked up to an amplifier.
"I know it's not your Martin," Danny told me, "but you deserve a good guitar. Now, you won't just sing with the band, you'll play, too."
Well, I'll just skip over all the mushy parts here; you all have good imaginations, I'm sure. The gist of it is, I've worked hard over the last two years to get back up to speed with playing guitar and I still don't play on every song, but this beautiful instrument has healed a part of me that I had concluded nothing could. She is a steadfast friend and I love her dearly. She may not be my Martin but, somehow, that doesn't matter anymore.
With the psalmist "I will sing to the Lord for He has been good to me"!
Website for Crossroads: http://kumcrossroads.shutterfly.com