I am extremely sensitive and routinely compassionate, believe it or not. Although I speak my mind in this blog, it is usually a place to release steam, and I am then able to go back into the trenches and serve my fellow man with unhindered patience. I teach my students how to deal, how to cope, how to behave despite a low opinion of a situation or a person. But recently, my writing has been of the insistent kind that assumes any idiot would agree that anything I say is true. Part of my subconscious had apparently decided that I don’t have to practice what I preach. The evidence has been in this blog, which has lately exhibited an increased level of woe, gloom, doom, and complaining. I have become, in a favorite organist word, a bitch.
Two events in the past week have brought about an abrupt turnaround to this, thank God. One was a challenge from a reader who was taking all the yelling and screaming at face value, as he should have. Sure enough, when I went back and looked at a few comments in last week’s post, I saw that I was blowing a larger smokescreen than usual. I had gone too far. I immediately reversed it and reclaimed my compassion. An insidious enemy, the assumption of superiority.
The second event that brought me back into the land of the living was the acquisition of Clyde Holloway’s Aeolian-Skinner from his house. That was a surreal process that I never expected to come to a conclusion so quickly. Many Facebook friends have assumed Clyde left the organ to me. If he had, my life would be complete, and I could die happy and fulfilled. But he did not. However, one thing led to another, and it’s now a textbook case of ask-and-ye-shall-receive. I am ever so glad I asked, and I shall live out my days in hope that Clyde would be pleased with this development.
Getting that organ is much like my keeping my father’s 1970 Lincoln Mark III. The organ and the car represent two people whose presence I can still feel by now owning these things that were important parts of their lives. I suppose it will be a while before I start calling them mine, rather than calling them "Dad’s Lincoln" or "Clyde’s Aeolian-Skinner."
Those two events this week were humbling. I am reminded that I have no real reason to complain about anything. I may be disappointed in my state economy and my state legislature’s continuing evisceration of education and in not getting that bigger studio, but I still have a job doing what I was trained to do, with a full stable of students. I may now be in debt from acquiring Clyde’s practice organ, restoring Dad’s Lincoln, or paying for a new transmission on my own car this week, but I am fortunate to be able to make the payments. I may not have been considered attractive enough to have a career manager, but I still get to go play for appreciative audiences 2-3 times per month. I may not like the screens in church but I am still able and invited to play for church for congregations who still want to use the organ.
And so I am thankful to have been brought back this week from an old path of bitchiness I learned to follow as a younger man. I am thankful for the opportunity to honor Clyde Holloway’s memory by continuing to preserve the Aeolian-Skinner that he was so careful to preserve. I am thankful for the opportunity to honor Dad’s memory by restoring his car the way he always wanted to. I am thankful for the opportunity to honor Dick Woods’s memory with his choir members each year. I am thankful for the students who seek me out.
And so if you have life, health, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, then stop complaining. That goes for you, too, dear reader.