In the early summer of 1976 my new wife and I were shopping at one of our favorite stores. It was kind of a hole in the wall stuffed full of all kinds of musical wonders. Canevari’s House of Music was a small family music store where you could walk through and drool over a bevy of instruments on display, purchase sheet music as well as just about anything else related to the enjoyment of music. I actually don’t remember if you could buy records there, but it seemed like they had everything else for the serious musician as well as the casual enthusiast.
On that particular day I fell hopelessly in love with a beautiful sunburst red twelve string guitar that had just come in. It was a Pan, which was a Japanese company that made excellent replicas of the Gibson Hummingbird Quilt guitar throughout the ‘70’s. And as my wife would attest to… all I would ever talk about when it came to guitars was to own a 12 string, as I was thoroughly captivated with their unique, full and mellow sound.
I can still remember how my hands trembled as I took it down from the display rack and strummed its strings… Ahhhh… sheer beauty! Well, we agreed that it was nice and seemed like a good buy for the price they were asking and with great reluctance returned it to the display and left the store with visions of sugarplums dancing in my head. But the story doesn’t end there…
A month or so later as Piper and I were celebrating our first anniversary, she disappeared for a moment and returned with a box that looked just about the right size to contain a guitar… And you know? It was and it did contain that gorgeous 12 string guitar! In all the years following, I don’t think I have been more surprised and gratified with a gift on any occasion!
For the first five years of our marriage that guitar was almost continually at my side. I would play any and every chance I got, which of course, included accompanying my wife as she played the piano. It would be interesting to know the exact number of songs that have been played with that instrument over the years. From the original songs that just seemed to pop out of me during those early years, to the youth group meetings and conferences, the various Children’s Church services, VBS, Family Fun Nights and school outreaches… and then there were all the times Piper and I sang specials at the various churches we served in and led Praise and Worship.
But it’s funny that over the last ten years or so, the enthusiasm, the desire and occasions to play seemed to lose their appeal. With the onset of the attack on Piper’s health I began to feel like the “song” wasn’t in me anymore! In fact, I don’t think I actually even touched the guitar over the last 2 or 3 years except to pack it for the move out here!
A few weeks ago though, I sensed a change in me. The new entertainment system we have in the house seemed to bring out something in me that I hadn’t felt for a long time... The system is very sensitive in the ranges of the music that comes through its multiple speakers and enables the astute listener to enjoy many of the nuances that can be lost with a small stereo. I have recently found myself turning up the volume and singing and worshiping along with the songs. I have always enjoyed live performance recordings and with this system it feels like you’re right up on the stage with the band!
Then a week or so ago I suddenly started thinking about my dream of owning a certain brand and model of six string acoustic guitar to complement my 40 year old trusty 12 string. But to be honest, I just laughed it off… but it wouldn’t go away! So I prayed about it and the desire continued to increase.
Now I recognize the way the Lord works in me and stopped arguing and began to do some research. I even called my phenomenally talented guitar playing older son and asked for his opinion. Well, he concurred with the idea… So… I did it! After forty years, my 12 string guitar now has another acoustic companion (I’ve had a couple of electric guitars through the years) in the form of an Ovation Celebrity Elite Plus Spalted Maple guitar.
I have to tell you… That while I have no idea what God’s plans are for Piper and I in relation to this guitar, I definitely feel something beginning to burn inside me again. It is like I can sense my insides saying “The music is back! The music is back!” The guitar arrived yesterday and I immediately tuned it up and played for about twenty minutes and WOW… were my fingertips sore! I can tell it will take a while to build the old callouses back up!
One of the first things I did was to go through our music trunk where Piper had stored all her piano music from her earliest lesson books to the music sheets we played with the family and at church. While that was a fun walk through memory lane, it was also a tremendously emotional experience and I had to stop on numerous occasions and wipe away the tears! Among other things, I came across a book that contained the music for the very first song we sang together in church when we were in Junior College. Piper had chorded out the sheet music for me and had rearranged the song to fit our desires as the sheet was filled with all her intricate notes.
That brought a flood of tears as I recalled how extremely talented she is with the piano. (She was only 19 when we sang that song!) I found myself yelling out that “LIFE IS NOT FAIR!” But then I quickly came to my spiritual senses and declared how “greater is he that is in us, than he that is in the world” (I John 4:4). I was also reminded that our story IS NOT OVER YET! And I believe that this new guitar is to be a reminder and testimony of that fact… and of the faithfulness of our God!
So… is the music back? I think it is definitely on its way! I realize that I need to stay closely in touch with the Lord and His guidance and I am excited to see the way He has planned for us to journey in this latest chapter of our lives!
I would encourage each of you to get in touch with the Lord in order to discover the path(s) He has planned for you to journey in this chapter of your life! Remember… Your story doesn’t have to end here! Have a fun trip… and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Who am I expecting to be my tour guide today?”