Due to nerve damage I sustained in a January 2015 automobile accident, I lost the ability to play guitar with a pick. I’ve adapted to playing nylon string guitar with my fingers.
During the past 3½ years I have occasionally visited guitar stores, purchased all kinds of guitar picks, and tried again to play that way, to no avail. I can’t feel the pick, so it falls to the floor. A couple of Fridays ago I tried one more time. I stopped at one of my favorite musical instrument stores. This time I saw a kind of pick I had not come across before. In fact, Rob at Music Gear told me these picks are no longer made. The wide end of the pick is rough so that you can hold on better, but plenty of picks have rough edges. This pick has a little scooped out indentation for the thumb. I tried it in my hand and it stayed! I bought the last two they had.
I was very thankful to God that I had found these picks! I was thinking that maybe now I could return to playing steel string acoustic guitar which would give me more versatility and enable our band to get back together. I showed Carla the picks as soon as she got home. I sat down and started playing. Sure enough, the pick didn’t sail across the room or fall out of my hand. But the loss of sensation in my fingertips and thumb prevented me from keeping the pick where it needed to be, even though I had found one I could hold. I tried and tried that evening, but eventually I realized no amount of practice would change the reality that I could not control the pick anymore. I was disappointed but I realized my little adventure answered once-and-for-all the question about playing guitar with a pick. Once that realization sank in I was very thankful to God for what I had learned, because now I can exclusively concentrate on the way I AM able to play guitar. I’m actually quite excited.
Does it seem to you that the first gratitude should have canceled out the second gratitude? I mean, how can I be thankful for both of those developments? For me, there is no contradiction, because it was never about the picks or my hands. It was always about my heart. With God, everything becomes an inside job.
David begins Psalm 34 by saying, “I will bless the Lord at all times; God’s praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul will make its boast in the LORD; the humble will hear it and rejoice. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt God’s name together!” (Psalm 34:1-3) The apostle Paul declares something very similar. In Ephesians 5:20 Paul says, “And give thanks for everything to God the Father and to the Lord Jesus Christ.” In 1st Thessalonians Paul says, “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
On that Friday my heart won twice, because I chose to be grateful twice. A life that gives credit to God is a life that can flex and breathe.
What do Psalm 34:1-3, Ephesians 5:20, and 1st Thessalonians 5:18 say to you about gratitude? How do these passages stretch you in your life of faith?
Rick Jordan (www.rickcarlajordan.com, firstname.lastname@example.org)
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