I never thought I’d sing in front of anyone—ever again.
The fellow wandered into the music store today with a sheaf of papers in his hand—lyrics and chords for a strange conglomeration of songs. In his Boston accent, a feature that certainly makes him stand out here in the foothills of the Arkansas Ozarks, the gray-haired man was telling me of his good fortune to be singing and playing his guitar for audiences again.
Four people last week. Four!
He wasn’t complaining. After a twenty-year hiatus from making music, he has heard the captivating song of the siren in his head and heart once again. His audience of four last week was the most warm and welcome environment he could imagine to ease his way back into the game. He can’t wait for next week to do it again.
His words are ringing in my head still tonight. You see, he’s not only taking up an old hobby he once practiced; he’s learning new things. The sheaf of papers in his hand were songs he needs to learn—songs he has never sung before. A few of them are oldies, but several are new—current hits playing on MP3 players and Spotify apps all over the country.
There are chords in some of the compositions he has never seen. He brought them in to me for help in learning the chord forms. We worked out a number of them and he caught on quickly. He even played and sang one of the newer songs for me, including a couple of the chords we had just gone over in his rendition.
It’s how I keep the Alzheimer’s away. If I’m learning, I’m not forgetting.
I’m not sure how scientific his reasoning is. I do know we are told by the medical experts that keeping the mind active and working is a key to fending off the dread disease.
Moments after the budding club singer wandered out, another man pushed open the door. This fellow is a full two decades older than the first. He wanted to pick up a guitar I repaired earlier this week.
I can’t play two chords on it, but I’m going to learn if I die trying!
I laughed at his words and suggested that it might not come to that, but the old guy wasn’t done.
He wants me to find him a bugle. A bugle!
When I asked him if he already played either the bugle or another brass instrument, he shook his head.
No, I never have. But, my grandson does and he’s going to teach me!
Before I get carried away, I want to be sure and explain that this is not always the case. I’m not going to dwell on the flip-side, but I’ve had a couple of them just recently who are prime examples.
The first one called me the other day to find an item just like one he used in the 1970s. Just like. No, he didn’t care that there were newer models which functioned much better. It had to be just like the one he had in 1978. He knows how to operate that one.
Then, just yesterday, I took a phone call from a fellow who simply wanted some specific information. I advised him of the location the information could be found on the Internet, but he cut me off shortly. No, he doesn’t use the Internet and would I find what he wanted there and print it out for him? He would pay me for my time.
I can only shake my head.
Job died, being old and full of days. (Job 42:17)
I wonder. What if that verse just said Job died, being old?
Well? That’s what happens. People get old and they die. What else is there to say?
Somehow, I think the Author of the Book wanted it said like that.
Just like that.
Job was full of days. He didn’t fill his days; the days filled him.
There was no marking time—no waiting for God—for this man. He lived. Until he died, he lived. The time was spent wisely and in turn, his life was enriched.
What are you doing with your life? What am I doing with mine? Are the days filled with activity, spinning our wheels to get from one appointment to the next?
Is that what we’re here to do? Just fill our days up until we die?
Hardly. The prophet tells us we’ll have dreams—dreams of things still to come—as old people. That passage was quoted again by one of the Apostles in the time of the early Church. It sure doesn’t seem like it describes folks sitting and rocking away their lives.
How about it? Do you still have dreams for the future? God-given dreams?
I do too.
I’d like to die full of days.
Perhaps tomorrow will be one of those days.
I’ll try to use it wisely.
It will come about after this
That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
And your sons and daughters will prophesy,
Your old men will dream dreams,
Your young men will see visions.
(Joel 2:28 ~ NASB)
Well, I learned something new today; now I can go back to bed.
(W Paul Whitmore ~ American educator/businessman ~ 1921-2006)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2015. All Rights Reserved.