I used to LOVE going to grandma and grandpa's house when I was a kid. It was phrases like "He's a Growing Boy" that would allow me to indulge and get pretty much whatever I wanted out of my grandparents. Unfortunately, it also led to the whole overweight and food allergy problem. Not that it was their (or anyone but mine) fault.... but what I was learning was that Growth was based on getting. I remember getting ready to go into the sixth grade. My sister had been playing the flute for two years, and I wanted to join the band.... My parents didn't have much money at the time, so they gave me a trumpet that had been sitting in storage for about 20 years.
Before I go too far, let me tell you about this trumpet..... When I got the trumpet, I remember the first thing I noticed was the smell. It was fairly pungent and had sort of an acrid overtone.... later I was to learn that is what happens when you mix brass and mold-- ie not pretty! The tuning slide had not been moved or oiled in at least the 20 years it had been sitting around, and had magically welded itself in place (Something else i learned WAS possible without a welder). The case was brown with a brown leather trim on the edges and the inside looked like orange velvet (that used to be red). I was NEVER Prouder in my LIFE!!! This was MY trumpet.... I had my own instrument, and was beginning to walk down the path to be my own person, with my own unique identity (and a crappy fallin apart trumpet that you couldn't tune if your life depended on it.... luckily we didn't live in jersey and weren't related to the mafia... but I digress).
I began the sixth grade ready to succeed with the words of my parents ringing in my ears.... "We give him 2 weeks and he will quit". What motivation! They weren't expecting me to fail, but up till that point in life, I hadn't showed real interest in much of anything.Let me tell you though... I was PROUD of my trumpet! I began band learning all I needed to know to succeed. Everyone else in the band was in the same place as I was... just beginning.... most of the other kids had rental horns, or hand me downs..... until...... DUN DUN Dahhhh (Dramatic music).... HERBIE!
Herbie, was a good friend, we hung out and goofed around in class. When He started in band he was playing the rented horn.... not a big deal. We were all learning the basics, technique, what it means to have "Tone" etc.etc. I was rapidly excelling and at this point in the game, I had learned how to tune my trumpet just by how I played (I had no other options unfortunately) and was doing very well. Ended up in first chair by the end of the first semester, and stayed there till I stopped taking band in the 11th grade. About halfway through the first year, Herbie came into class with an unusually large grin on his face.... something had changed..... he put his case down, and put on white gloves.....?????? What???? We were all confused, thinking he may have just joined a cult..... opened up his case and pulled out his trumpet...... WOW!!!! A Bright light hit us all and nearly blinded us in the glory that was Herbie's SILVER Trumpet!!!!!
Now This was not just any silver trumpet.... but a BACH Stradivarius.... $1500 piece or shiny trumpet! I just KNEW that at that moment... I had lost first chair... Herbie just won! He had the prettiest trumpet I had ever seen.... not only did all of his valves and slides work, and work well, but I had NEVER seen a trumpet without a dent. He even had a little leather valve guard.... man he had it all!!! I would had been jealous, but I was so confused as to how it was possible to have such a machine! Then Herbie began to play........
Herbie, if you happen across this post, please don't think ill of me.....
Herbie wasn't first chair, but at the same time Herbie wasn't last chair either. I think the guy that was last chair didn't even come to the school.... we always saw him on days there was a special event or field trip.... and I think he was 35 repeating the 6th grade.... not sure though. Herbie sat next to that guy. He was usually 3rd or 4th trumpet, and at one point when there was a lice epidemic going around I think Herbie made it all the way up to second chair next to me. As he began to play, I was amazed yet again. I didn't know that it was possible for a trumpet so beautiful that it brought a tear to your eye just looking at it, could sound so bad that it would make a goose fly north for the winter just to put itself out of its misery!!!
(This is the part of the blog where I get to the point)
I learned a very valuable lesson that day.... How good you are has absolutely NOTHING to do with what tools you have to work with, or how much of something you have. This is something that I wish I had to put to practice a bit more growing up... but a good revelation none-the-less.
This lesson has come full circle in the last few years, to be one of the most powerfull guiding line for my life and ministry... in my next post, I will go into more detail as to how and why.... but for now I leave you with this....
How good, or how healthy you are has absolutely NOTHING to do with what tools you have to work with, or how much of something you have.