Oh my Lord - in addition to taking care of business at church today - I also had my second bass guitar lesson. Today we spent an hour "jazzing up the blues" and man did I ever learn a LOT! First, Andy is in incredible teacher who really affirms this old dog trying to learn new tricks. Look, I know the basic rock and roll groove, but OMG are there ever sweet variations when it comes to playing jazz bass.
Second, I have NO illusions that in a year I am going to be able to do what some players have been working all their lives to formulate. And that is very humbling in all the right ways. At the same time, it is also an incredible opportunity to both stretch my mind and my ability as a musician - and there is NO down side to this at all. In fact, I am totally pumped about practicing at least an hour each day. As my honey said this morning at breakfast: there aren't many 58 year old guys who are willing to learn an entirely new form of music. I'm not surprised your mind hurts. (And sometimes it does because this is all so new!)
And third, what a privilege - and spiritual blessing - to be able to step outside of ministry to just work on music with a very talented musician who is also a dear friend. He is giving up his time and talent to work with this dinosaur - and I feel blessed - because this is yet another sign of God's grace in my life and today I am so very, very grateful. Too often clergy don't take care of themselves - I know - I've done the martyr/self-sacrificing trip before and it is a total burnout and bore!
It reminds me of the Lent that I made the commitment to ANOTHER favorite guitar man - don E of Tucson - to simply play/jam with him every Tuesday night from 8-10 pm. It became my Lenten discipline one year - a time to both nourish my soul and explore my music with a soul mate - and it changed my life. After 90 minutes of a meeting, for example, I would tell the folk: "Well, it is time for me to go pray with rock and roll." I would leave the meeting - often to their shock and disbelief - and head over to a jam session that challenged and healed me. For a while the church people thought their pastor had flipped, but I was practicing self-care. You know, that love your neighbor as YOURSELF stuff.
Groovin' cleared my head. It opened my heart and my senses, too. And it gave me a chance to grow in friendship, musicianship and prayer. I feel that way about the work Andy and I are doing in preparation for Istanbul: it is all pure grace - and I am one of the luckiest men alive!