One of the challenges I set myself a few months was to learn a new skill.
I was finding all I was doing was working or thinking about work and, in my experience, when that is all you do you soon start to become dry and find it difficult to vision or be creative.
I have always wanted to learn to play the sax. I was told by my mum years ago that I was not musical (after singing quite well in a choir at school) and so for years, simply years, I have believed I could not do anything musical.
At the cathedral I used to panic about having to sing the sarsum corda but had wonderful patient people around me who helped and told me I could sing it ok.
For an ‘unmusical person’ I have always loved music … so a few month ago I borrowed a sax from a friend and started to have lessons. I found I progressed ok (much better than I expected) so I now have my own sax and I am learning … slowly … but still learning to play some tunes. I have a great and patient teacher that I see every other week or thereabouts and I am having a lot of fun.
The result of learning a new skill, something totally out of my comfort zone, is that it has reminded me, or maybe it has re-taught me, that learning something fresh can be incredibly alien. For someone that doesn’t read music too well coordinating breathing, reading and finger movements to get tunes that sounds like tunes can be awkward. I look at Jason (cool sax teacher) and marvel at how he can play anything he chooses with seemingly little effort. And …. when it all works together for me, on those odd ocassions, and the sax just purrs a tune the feeling of understanding, resonace, achievement and excitement are pretty powerful.
My learning of the when and how to breathe while playing, what notes to play, how loud or soft to play them seems to be an apt illustration for me of how we support people who are seeking to connect with their God. It can be awkward, alien, uncomfortable and hard work …. the encouragements for me while learning to play have been those moments of resonance between myself and Betty (everyone has to make their saxophone …. don’t they?!), those moments when the sound has been great and I have felt ‘connected’.
In a time and culture when people feel ‘connected’ through technology yet in reality are possibly the most disconnected and reclusive we have been for centuries the question to ask, in my mind, is how to we aid this connection?
How do we support people as they walk the journey to that point of resonance?
What can we do, if anything, to either encourage or discourage that resonance of one-ness?
So … some questions … never said I had answers … but questions are always more fun to deal with than answers ….