18 August 2006


As I've mentioned before, I've sworn to myself that before I die, I'll learn to play guitar. And so, as a result of such, I recently began taking lessons.

At my last lesson, in an attempt to help me visualize the usefulness of my newly learned chords, my teacher gave me a simplified version of "Amazing Grace." Ironic, since it was the playing of that very song that inspired me to the point of learning to play guitar.

A couple of years ago, on the final day of my church's revival, a tall man with long grey hair walked into the auditorium. He appeared to be rather unkempt, which, in comparison to our then overly-up-tight congregation, could mean anything from him wearing a tee shirt to him simply not having a tie on. In one hand, he carried an old Bible that appeared to bear a considerable amount of mileage; In the other, he carried an old, ragged guitar case.

He took a seat on the front row, a sure sign in a Baptist church that either this person doesn't belong, or intends to stand before the people at some point in the service, as the back-row Baptist stereotype, at the time more so even than now, was ultimately proven each Sunday by our congregation. As the guest-pastor provided his sermon, he introduced the man as his son, and simply said that his son had asked to play his guitar at our church.

Without saying a word, the man grabbed a chair from the empty choir, sat down, and proceeded to draw a beautiful, albeit obviously used, twelve string guitar from his case, and started to play "Amazing Grace."

Conforming with the stranger's behavior and appearance, the performance was exceptional. I watched, amazed, as the man, with closed eyes and, sometimes, a risen head, played every possible layer of the song using only his guitar. Percussion, harmony, melody, and even a bit of his own creativity rang through the auditorium as this man utilized his gift to its greatest capacity. Scarce was a dry eye when the last of his notes reverberated through the room and, with a look of urgency, as if he were needed elsewhere, he left as soon as he finished playing.

The ability to convey such emotion and spirit without words was something I had never considered until this moment, and guitar lessons are my attempt to, in some effect, enable myself to do the same.

As for sky diving, well... It just seems fun...


  1. You know, I have a guitar. In fact, I desperately wanted lessons. But for some reason my parents insisted that I go through the book first. Never do that...it was so boring. lol.

    I love Amazing Grace. I have like four versions on my computer. I wish I had been able to hear that man play.

  2. Good to hear you've started. I knew I'd heard this mentioned before. Looks like my bass will be sitting there till at least next summer.