I was recently reminded how precious life is. It truly can be here in one moment and gone the next. Expect the unexpected but always remember to live your one gracious and precious life your way.
In college I played on the basketball team which often required me to miss classes for a few days at a time to attend games. While most professors understood, I had one professor that made the transition between basketball and class extremely difficult. This particular professor even went so far as to tell me I needed to quit playing basketball or he would not pass me in his class. This was during the first week. The part that frustrated me was that I was taking this class not because it was required, but because I enjoyed music. It was Music Theory I. A freshman introductory class. My guitar instructor recommended that I take it to help me improve my understanding of music, so I did. I was a business major, I had no need for a music theory class, but I loved my guitar lessons and thought it could only enhance my abilities.
I was wrong. I let that one professor basically end my love of music. The sad part is I studied more for that class than any in college. I had a music tutor and I worked tirelessly to pass, but when the final requires you to listen to a chord, say a G Major Augemented 7th, without knowing what it is and distinguish it with that solely to go on, it’s difficult. I cannot play by ear and I don’t believe that it is something that can be taught in a 10 week music class. If it could have been taught, with the amount of studying I did, I would have learned it. In the end, after many late study sessions, tearful moments and a final where the professor made me feel worthless and that I would never succeed at music, I gave up playing my guitar. It was the last quarter before summer break and I honestly didn’t really think about it, but after that school year I never really picked up my guitar again. It was painful and I had lost my desire to play. I did pass the class, but the impression it left on me caused me to take a break from music altogether.
People should not take away your passion. Looking back, I should have worked harder to hold onto my love of the guitar, but I didn’t feel it and when you don’t feel something, you can’t bring the fire back. I felt like I wasn’t good enough to play, which was not true. I wrote songs, I played in high school for graduation weekend, singing a song I wrote. I loved the guitar in college and my guitar instructor was incredibly talented at teaching me. I had all the makings of at least a decent guitar player. But I gave it up because of one bad experience in life.
A recent tragedy befell an acquaintance of mine, who played the guitar music for my wedding. He lost his wife and baby in a four day period. He is a musician and he used his music to sing for his baby as he clung to life. The touching song and heartbreaking tragedy went viral on news outlets around the world because of how moving it was. Music should be used for that purpose. It isn’t about the chords or whether you can hear every little nuance. It’s about how it moves you. How it can heal you.
Today I picked up my drastically out of tune guitar and played a few songs. My fingers now hurt from pressing the strings down after such a long absence, but my heart is much more full. I was never going to be the next Taylor Swift, but for me music has always been a comfort and an outlet to express myself. It’s good to be back and I don’t plan on letting go anytime soon.
The lesson I want you to take away from this is to never let anyone make you feel inadequate because you don’t live up to their expectations. We all have something to contribute. If you have a passion for something and a desire to pursue it, don’t stop. Believe in yourself and do what makes you happy. I guarantee you that my professor doesn’t even remember my name, but the impact he made haunted me for years. Today, I’m letting it go. I’m picking up where I left off and I’m going to enjoy the things I love. Yes, music and basketball will both have a place in my life. I love running, I love fitness, but I also love music and I believe I can have them all. My professor was right in one way. I did fail, but I didn’t fail the class, I failed myself for missing out on years of moments, choruses and words transformed into song.