By Mike Day
Have you tried learning a new skill lately?
Recently we purchased a new piano. My wife took piano lessons as a child and has played off and on throughout her adult years. When we first started dating, she played at the nursing home while I led the music and preached. Fun date, right?
These past couple of weeks, I’ve enjoyed listening to her learn new songs along with playing old hymns and piano classics. For me, the piano is more of a piece of furniture than a musical instrument. Growing up, I was more interested in football and baseball and never learned how to read music, much less how to play the piano. When no one is around, I’ll sit down and bang on the keys. I have no idea the note each key plays, so you can imagine the cacophony of noise that fills the room. When Leigh Anne plays, our two Havanese dogs sit quietly underneath the piano as if soothed by the music. When I get anywhere near the piano, they quickly dash to their rooms wishing they could close the door and stuff plugs in their ears.
At sixty, I’m pondering, “Am I too old to take piano lessons?” Can you really be a beginner when everything else about you says you are way past the beginner’s age? Immediately the negative self-talk begins to fill my head: “You’ll never be any good. You’ll look like a fool.” Once we move past the adolescent years, fear of failure and fear of what others may think, keep us from attempting new activities and learning new skills.
In his book, Beginners: The Joy and Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning, Tom Vanderbilt writes, “It’s about small acts of reinvention, at any age, that can make life seem magical.” While my piano playing may never sound magical, I do like the idea of having a beginner’s mindset that frees me to attempt new skills and venture onto new paths.
Similarly, our faith journey should be filled with new experiences with God rather than years of the same old, same old. The writer of Lamentations reminds us, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning.” Will you ask God to show you new wonders and truths? Will you trust God to lead you down a path you’ve never walked?
I invite you to join me in being a beginner, no matter how old you are. Life is filled with fresh discoveries and opportunities.
If you happen to walk by our house and see the dogs looking out the window as if asking to be freed, just know I’m inside mastering Mozart on the piano!