Wayyy out of my comfort zone

This blog entry is more or less likely to become nothing more than a protracted and banal, “Yikes!”-type social media update.  The long and short of it is that having given my little finger to helping out at church, I seem now to be missing a whole arm.

I play guitar a little.  There’s a small group that I play with off and on, and it’s great.  I can stand at the back, scowl at my music stand and hope for the best (honestly?  I think we rock.  )

At the moment, there is an Alpha course running at various sites across Espoo and an appeal went out for help with the music at the location we belong to.  Somehow, between my offering to help by playing 2nd guitar whilst someone else led, has become just me and my guitar on about four different evenings.  I can sort of hold a tune, but in my opinion it’s not a good sound.  Mercifully only a couple of songs are needed each week.

The last time I felt this far out of my depth was when I was asked to play with some really talented folks who had been approached to play a couple of sets for a local Christian TV channel.  Although the rehearsals and actual event went well, I still remember the sweaty palms and countless trips to the loo until the band wouldn’t let me go any more.

That experience stretched me a–lot.  We weren’t playing in front of the “home crowd” who might be expected to forgive us any slip ups, it was national.  Then I found out it was streamed globally – so no pressure there then.  What I found to my amazement, was that screwing up in front of 20 feels about the same as 20 + TV camera.   What it did teach me was: breath, relax, count, don’t panic, breath, relax, count, don’t panic ..

That experience is kinda carrying me through this current stretching period with the Alpha Course music.  Breath, relax, count, don’t panic.  I can add to that list “don’t fake it.”.  If I mess up there is no point pretending to be a rock star and be all like “Yeah, that’s how it goes!” .. rather grin, apologise and start over.  If I’ve rehearsed my arse off then there is nothing for me to feel ashamed about.  If I’ve arrogantly gone in cold without preparation?  Well, that’s a different matter.

I can also ramble on .. um .. a little.  As a result of this of this, I’ve been nominated and subsequently added, along with Mother Duck and others, to some kind of speaking rota.  Now I’m really nervous.  To waffle on over a coffee about something I’ve nearly got a basic grasp of is one thing, but to actually be articulate and coherent in front of the respectable folks at church, without dropping the F-bomb or preaching heresy .. the very thought makes my blood run cold!

One thing that has managed to get wedged inside my thick skull is that

“What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”

My guitar playing, or at least how I feel about it, has improved.  My threshold for sweaty palms and crippling stage fright is now higher, which means the more use I am to the folks at church who let me join them.  If I’d never been in those places which really tested me,  I would stagnate instead.  And that, dear reader, would be for me just awful.

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11 Replies to “Wayyy out of my comfort zone”

  1. Hey man this was a great writing! Welcome to the club – I was in front of a pretty much identical situation like 15 years back. Was sweating, my mouth was dry like beduin’s sandals, tried to find even some songs I could do without screwing up all the time – and I did some good job on that arena, oh yes. Sometimes I wished I could just evaporate away.

    But that didn’t happen, what happened instead is I learned to play a lot better, sing better and enjoy doing P&W and also secular music.

    You must be on this same way my friend. And you are going to experience more and more joy as you just continue!
    Cannot wait to see…

    – O

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