Throughout the month of January, WordPress is sending participating bloggers a writing prompt each day. It’s a way to find some creative inspiration and perhaps make connections with other bloggers. My entries in this blogging challenge will appear here under the tag #bloganuary.
I’m an introvert, and one of the greatest fears I’ve had to conquer through the course of my life is the fear of interacting with other people. My parents always encouraged me to do things with other kids, but often it was too much–I was a Cub Scout for only one day and never went back. I played the violin for a couple of years in elementary school, but I was so freaked out by having to be on stage for the annual school orchestra concert that by the time I was done with the one mandatory choir class in the seventh grade, I was done with music…until I discovered the guitar when I was a sophomore.
At fifteen, I first picked up a borrowed guitar and began learning how to play; no lessons, of course–that would probably have been a deal breaker for me. I taught myself with the help of a book by Frederick Noad called How to Play the Guitar, and a book of songs from the Fire and Rain album by James Taylor, and after a couple of years of practicing alone, I had enough confidence to actually bring my guitar to youth group meetings and lead a bit of singing.
After college, where I studied journalism and majored in radio-TV-film, I started playing in a Christian rock band. While working in both technology and ministry, I played countless gigs in a lot of places with the band. At church I was preaching on occasion, teaching the Bible regularly, performing music often, and after twenty years with the rock band, I became the leader of our newly-formed worship band at church, and for almost twenty more years I led worship pretty much every Sunday. Eventually I was ordained as a pastor.
I don’t know if it would be fair to say that learning to play the guitar was the pivotal factor in helping me overcome what was, at times, debilitating introversion, but it is clear to me that my life was much different before the guitar than it has been since then.
I don’t really have any better explanation than that. And it is worth noting that I am still an introvert–I suppose I’ve simply learned to function almost as if I weren’t, though I often do need to spend time alone to “recharge my batteries,” so to speak.