Monday, August 24, 2009

It's You, Not the Guitar

Last weekend found me standing in the middle of a crowd, pressed in on each side by complete strangers. All of us were waiting for the next band to start at the Purple Door Arts and Music Festival. I was minding my own business trying not to think about how much my feet were hurting (I'd been standing for hours by now).

Two guys stood behind me and started talking with each other, introducing themselves and seeing if they had common interests. One guy was a gangly, fourteen or fifteen-year-old who looked like he was much older. The other probably was college-aged. Conversation quickly turned to music, and Mr. 15 couldn't help but point out he played guitar, bass guitar and drums. I smiled to myself.

I couldn't see either of their faces, but I have a feeling Mr. College was smiling inwardly too. But he took it all in stride and kindly humored Mr. 15. Then talk turned to equipment, i.e. amps and types of guitars. Mr. 15 was desperately trying to sound like he knew everything there was to know about these sort of things. Then he said something that almost caused me to chuckle out loud.

"My guitar makes me sound bad," he said.


"Yeah, if I had a really good one, I'd sound great."

Um, okay. Your guitar makes you sound bad. Hmm. I wonder if it would've made Jimmy Hendrix sound bad.

I got to thinking about this little exchange later, and it reminded me of how often we all choose to blame our equipment rather than acknowledge our own weaknesses. If I only had that iMac I could write so much better. If only I didn't write in my kitchen but had my own office. If only I had a better this or that ...

The way I see it, if we can sound good (or, excuse the grammar, write good), or do anything well on what we have, then that's the sign of true talent. If we can develop our skills on what we've been given to use today, then maybe God'll give us something better tomorrow. It's sorta like that parable which talks about being faithful in the small things.

We don't have to have the latest gadgets or the most expensive equipment to become good at whatever we've been called to do. What really matters is our attitude. Will we make the most of what we've been given today?


Bridget Chumbley said...

Great post! Having an almost 14 yr old boy who is into music, this really had me smiling (he knows it all too). So true that our attitude is the 'key'!

Lori Stanley Roeleveld said...

Wow! Wonderful insight and well-written post. Thank you. I often chide myself about that as a writer - no excuses! I've made much more progress in the writing world since I took a "no excuses" approach to the craft.

WordVixen said...

Yes, but if I had a computer without internet to tempt me... :-D

Of course, without the internet, how would I brag when I finally sit down to write? Hm... quandary.