My sophomore year of college, my dad bought me a guitar for Christmas. It was a Seagull, one of the cheapest handmade guitars we could find. I loved it. Over the years, I took it with me everywhere. I took it back to school with me, and started messing around with it. When I went to Jerusalem to spend a semester studying abroad, my guitar came along with me, and we enjoyed playing for worship times and up on the roof of JUC. When I went to Nepal later on that year to participate in a Servant Team with Word Made Flesh, I brought my guitar. I strapped it to my back as I rode my bike through the traffic of Kathmandu on my way to Shanti Bhivan and the Missionaries of Charity, played with a hat pulled down low over my eyes when I had a nasty migraine headache, and was offered a gig playing Spanish music at the brand new Mexican restaurant that had just opened in Thamel. It traveled with me to Kolkata later that year, and then back to the US with me as well. Upon my graduation, I moved out to Breckenridge, CO and lived out there working with dear friends for a year. The guitar was there as well. And when it came time for me to leave and move to Brazil, she journeyed with me once more.
Playing alone or leading worship in our apartment soon led to taking it to the streets, singing and playing with our friends who lived there. It would be passed around, and kids who didn’t know how to play would strum madly on it pretending it was a percussion instrument. When I moved into the favelas, I found a new favorite spot to play – up on the roof, overlooking the city lights of Rio. I took it with me to the beach, the forest, several islands, and all around the state of Rio. On trips to Bolivia and Peru for staff retreats, the guitar was a travelling companion. In keeping with the idea that the things I own aren’t really MINE, but I am merely a steward of them, I tried to take care of it, but also let it be used – and it was. Over the course of the years, it suffered some dings and scratches. I dropped it once on a bus and the wood split along the grain on the top, but I was able to patch it with some super glue (is there anything super glue can’t do?) and it still sounded fine.
Then last year when I left Brazil I brought it home to the US with me. I should have known better. Last Saturday morning I was in the living room, still a little groggy and not quite fully woken up. I stood to go into the kitchen and managed to trip on the power cord to my laptop. This quickly woke me up as I jumped and spun to avoid pulling the laptop off the couch and bringing it smashing down to the floor. Unfortunately, as I jumped and spun, I happened to put my right foot through the body of my guitar which was propped up against one of the living room chairs. It was a tragic, sad, “oh no what just happened” kind of moment… And I don’t think she can be fixed.
But I am thankful – for 11 years of music, of sharing, of laughter, of joy. So I’m now in the market for another guitar. Hopefully the next one will bring as much life to me and others as this one. And hopefully I won’t destroy it by using my impressive ninja skills.
For a photo retrospective of her through the years, check out the memorial slide show by clicking on the picture below:
I’ll miss you…