A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
Luke, it’s your destiny”. Oh, I know, to a whole bunch of you that doesn’t make a bit of sense. It is a line taken from one of the Star Wars movies when Luke Skywalker, the ultimate good guy, learns that Darth Vader, the ultimate bad guy, is his father. He was saying that Luke was destined to be a bad guy because his dad was. Well old Darth Vader had a surprise coming. I’m glad that life is like that. Full of surprises.
All my life I have loved music. From the time when I was about 10 or 12 and my mother forced my sister to allow me to sing in her wedding, music has been a part of my DNA. To this day I love every kind of music —with only a few exceptions. One Christmas, Santa Claus bought my sister a chord organ and I would sit and mash the buttons making music. Later, when I joined the Air Force, my mother urged me to buy an organ and I did. I never learned more than three chords, but you would be amazed at how many songs you can play with those three chords—C, G, F.
Well, years later, after Judy and I were married, we bought a beautiful old piano. She could play well and I could play my three chords. For my birthday, she decided to give me piano lessons. I was genuinely excited. When music is in your soul, it is always satisfying to find ways to get it out. There was a wonderful lady (think saint) at the First Baptist Church of Warrensburg named Gerry Muchmore. Let’s just say she was a legend in her time at First Baptist. She could play the piano and organ like few could. She had retired from giving lessons by the time we came along, but somehow Judy talked her into giving me lessons.
I was so excited when I opened the card and read the words, “six months of piano lessons with Gerry Muchmore.” I couldn’t wait to get started. I just knew as much as I loved music and with one of the best teachers in the state, I would soon be playing the piano like a pro. Nothing was going to stop me. I had the will power, I had the passion, and I had fingers—even if they weren’t very long. Move over Liberace—here I come. But wait. It was about then, if I had been listening, a small voice was probably whispering something about destiny.
I was to meet with Mrs. Muchmore (with a teacher like her and my southern genes we were never on a first name basis) once a week. Every day I was to practice what I learned in preparation for the next lesson. Week one went well. Both our expectations were low since I only knew three chords. She bought me the beginner book and I played my fair share of “Three Blind Mice” also known as “Hot Cross Buns.” Soon it was time for lesson two. I think she was a little surprised at my progress or perhaps I should say my lack of it. I think something was mentioned about practicing. I assured her I had been faithfully practicing and she suggested I might want to practice a bit more.
Unfortunately, week three was much like week two. Try as I may, those stubby little fingers were just not cooperating. Add to that my total lack of rhythm genes and it wasn’t promising. I pressed on, practicing, and dreaming of my days of musical bliss. Then came week four. At the conclusion of our lesson that day, my piano idol looked at me and said, “Dewayne, there are some people in the world who are destined not to play the piano. You are one of those.” She spoke the words gently and kindly but firmly. It was game over—I was not going to be a threat to Liberace after all.
Now in case you’re wondering, it didn’t wound my heart too deeply. I actually appreciated her candor and frankly, I wasn’t into all that practicing anyway. I mean I still had my three chords. So many years later, I still love music, I still love to sing, and I still enjoy it when someone can play an instrument well. Perhaps it is their destiny—it just wasn’t mine. It is a lesson I’m still working on today. I’ve discovered that there are some things that I can do pretty well, and there are some things that are best left undone in my life. I’m learning that just because I can’t rip up a keyboard doesn’t make me any less a person than one who does. It simply means that’s not my gift.
If we go through life always envious of what other people have or what they can do, we will only end up jealous and bitter. If we learn to appreciate what other people have or what they can do, we end up richer in character with a deeper appreciation of life. I wonder if that is what the writer of Proverbs had in mind when he wrote, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” I think it is. God is pretty keen on us just the way He made us. He is your biggest fan. We sang a song in church Sunday that had four profound words in it—He is for you. And do you know what? He is.
So, I still have my three chords—C, F, and G. I still occasionally (though not frequently) sit down and bang out an old song that requires only those three chords. The rhythm is never quite right, but that’s ok. It still helps some of that pent-up music to ooze out. I want to encourage you do the same. Find something you love, that’s deep in your soul and let it ooze out. It’s good medicine. By the way, if you are a Jesus follower, it’s always good to let Him ooze out too. Why not take a seat, take a rest and strike up a song with the One created it all. The two of you make a great duet. And if you hit a wrong key or two…that’s fine because…He’s got this.