Here’s a glimpse of how my mind works. Maybe yours works like mine, too.
I decided that I wanted to play my guitar tonight, so I did. I know that sounds like a no-brainer but it’s really not that simple. When my favorite guitar is in its case, I usually won’t grab it on a whim. I think about the fact that it’s behind Micah’s much smaller, travel guitar and locked up behind the hard cover and how I just hate putting it away again. No matter how many times I leave it out of its case, TJ always puts it away. I know she has no way of knowing that I leave it out on purpose. I’ll tell her tonight after she gets out of the bath.
I leave it out because when I see it, all shiny and happy looking, I want to play it. It sort of calls to me. I play like crap and I know it. I have no sense of rhythm and am too self-conscious to actually ever play in front of anyone. But it feels good to me. I know that I’ve played the same very basic few bars of music, nearly the same way every time, for at least 3 minutes every time I pick it up for probably the last 15 years. But it feels good to me. I don’t imagine I’ll learn any new chords either. But I may. Who can say?
And this leads me more into what I was going to initially write about before I got carried away. Every once in awhile, TJ will ask me to listen to a song. And I do mean every once in awhile. It’s a rare thing, so when she does ask, I know something about that song has moved her. Which isn’t an easy thing to do. Don’t get me wrong, TJ is a very deep, emotional person. She just tries not to think about that part of herself or let it show very often. I think I may be one of the very few people to ever witness her in an emotionally vulnerable state. And I try to protect her from having to experience that as much as possible. But, anyway, one song she asked me to listen to truly moved me.
Now, I’m not really the touchy, feely type while I’m at work. I’m mostly sort of grumpy but I think some people actually see through that and down to the incredibly soft touch I really am. Anyway, the song I wanted to play tonight, the one TJ asked me to listen to, I shared with a woman I’ve been lucky enough (she would probably say “blessed”) to get to know over the past 5 years. I won’t embarrass her by naming her, but her initials are DJ.
Now, working with social workers over a long period of time has taught me to believe in the goodness of people. They have their bad days and personality quirks like everyone else but at the end of the day, all they want to do is help someone. Not for some bullshit ego trip, but because they truly believe that it’s the right thing to do. I know a handful of people who didn’t choose the vocation of social worker but still have the mentality of one, my wife is one of them, and so is DJ. It should go without saying that DJ and my wife have a strong affection and sense of admiration for each other. Within the past month, they’ve brought each other to tears with their kind words to each other. I have the utmost respect for DJ and, for reasons I sometimes can’t comprehend, I feel a closeness to her. She’s not perfect, but she’s about one of the best people I’ve ever known. Just very genuine and that’s a hard thing to find in a person.
Moving along in my ramble, I shared the song with DJ and told her how TJ had shared it with me and how much it had moved her. I told her I’d like to learn it for TJ. I found the chords and lyrics and they didn’t look too hard. I knew the chords and have a capo so there was no reason at all that I shouldn’t be able to learn and even perform the song. DJ suggested that I learn for her birithday that was coming up. I agreed that I thought it was a great idea. TJ knows how difficult it is for me to expose myself like that. But I would do it. I would practice that damn song and I would sing it and play it on my guitar for her birthday.
And I did practice and, with the exception of one difficult chord transition, I didn’t do too badly. But as her birthday approached, I began to think that I really couldn’t do it after all. It was too scary. Even though I knew that she would have been moved by my effort and the knowledge that it was difficult for me and she would have told me what a great job I did, I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t. It was too much and I was too afraid to expose myself. Which is really foolish because I know that she could hear me practice. It’s not like the basement is a sound-proof studio. And I really don’t think it sounds that bad. I know that she can identify what song it is, which isn’t always the case when I’m playing. But I was still too afraid.
That was just about 2 years ago and I’ve still never played that damn song for her. Not really. But one of the reasons I love her so much is because I know that she understands why I don’t play it for her. And because she casually tells me that I was playing really well while she was in the bath. And even though she doesn’t make a big deal about it, I know that she feels loved and special because she knows that I learned the song because it moved her. And her sharing it with me, moved me.
And DJ understood that with the simple act of me sharing the song with her.