Not at Church

Not at ChurchI recently wrote about why I don’t go to church every Sunday, even though I used to. That’s still true. I didn’t suddenly have a life-changing epiphany that led me to attend church this past weekend, but I did have a spiritual experience this past week. In all honesty, I probably had more than one spiritual experience, but the one I’m writing about was the most spiritual.

I went to see a concert. I went to see The Piano Guys. Call me a dork–I don’t care; those guys are wonderful.

Music is one of those things that just sort of lives inside of me(I know this sounds corny, but go with me). When I see someone else who clearly has the music in them as well, it’s highly spiritual for me. See, I think that God, Heavenly Father, knows each of us and gave us each talents and skills to use in our lives. By using those talents, and sharing them with other people, I feel it’s a way to express our faith in a higher power. It’s kind of like saying, “Hey, God, I know you know what you’re doing. I’m going to use this thing that you gave me and see where it takes me.” Then, by using our talents, others are inspired to use their talents and maybe even discover talents they didn’t know they had. Maybe a person isn’t inspired to go out and use their talent, but maybe you made them smile, or made them think, and that’s not a bad thing. If you can bring any happiness to the world, it’s a good thing. I tend to think that any time we make someone happy, we’re only furthering the mission of whatever higher power you believe in, unless your higher power wants to make people miserable, let’s hope that isn’t the case.

Getting back to the concert I went to–it was wonderful. My boyfriend, Grizzly Pirate Wynn, bought tickets for us to go see The Piano Guys for Valentine’s Day. I love music, and so does he, although, I am definitely the more musically inclined. He enjoyed himself. I enjoyed myself. Lots of people there enjoyed themselves.

I didn’t think I was in any way musically inclined until I was about fourteen years old. If you had asked me at ten if I thought I was going to be musical at all, I would have responded in a shy voice that I wasn’t. I discovered that I was musically talented though, which was a surprise. I started taking piano lessons and I was good. I also started singing. Who would have thought I could do that? I can sing. I don’t mean I can sing along with the radio or in the shower. I mean that I can sing hymns, pieces from musicals, and, yes, even some opera.

I have now played the piano for about eighteen years or so. I have also been classically trained to sing, meaning I can read music, sing scales, sight-read, and even do some singing back to you if you sang me a tune. I love singing. I love playing the piano. I can even do both at once.

I also have a guitar, although I haven’t been as successful with it. I am somewhat double-jointed, meaning my joints are bit more flexible than is normal. You know that top joint in your finger? The one that moves around the segment of your finger attached to your fingernail? That one? Yeah, well, most people’s joint only bends outward, out towards the top of your hand. Well, mine can bend both outward and inward, towards the palm-side of my hand. You may think this is awesome, but I have thus far not found many advantages besides the fact that I can easily bend just that joint in my finger and say “Redrum,” and other things, like in the movie The Shining.

What does any of this have to do with the fact that I have a guitar? For the guitar, and any stringed instrument actually, you use the very tip of your finger to place pressure on the string. The correct sound only comes out of the instrument if you press the string down firmly against the fret board. Most guitars are steel-stringed, which means the strings are extra strong. There has to be a lot of force on that string to make a good sound.

With one string, this is all find and dandy, but if I have to press more than one string at once with one finger my double-jointedness comes into play and I cannot put the force on those strings that I need to, because of that wonky joint. That means my chords, the F-chord for example, sound like someone is trying to strangle a guitar. Thus, I haven’t been as successful with other instruments.

Double-jointedness does come into play with the piano, just not as much. I play much differently than someone who isn’t double-jointed. I can still do all that cool stuff, but my hands and fingers are usually positioned a bit differently and I play thumb notes with the side of my thumb, not the finger pad itself, you know, just in case you were wondering about playing the piano and being double-jointed.

Getting back to the concert–Steven Sharp Nelson is amazing. He’s the guy that plays the cello. I know I should probably be a little biased towards the piano guy, Jon Schmidt, since I do actually play the piano, but I just can’t get over how amazing Steven is. He also really reminds me of Nathan Lane.

I just Googled Steven and found out that he is only thirty-nine years old. Steven, you’re making me feel really unaccomplished because you’re not even a decade older than me and you’ve accomplished a whole lot, not that Steven will ever read this, but if he does, he’ll know that he made me feel a little bad about myself.

Oh, who cares?! He’s still immensely talented and I would love to be able to play the cello like he does. FYI one of Steven’s cellos, the electric black cello, is named Bruce Lee. I would love to be able to play a stringed instrument. The cello has this particularly warm sound that I admire so much.

Back to the whole spiritual thing–when Steven plays, I can feel the presence of a higher power. I know that may sound corny, but I know, I just know that there is something greater than us out there when people like Steven share their talents with the world. Steven’s over there playing these beautiful songs on his cello and I’m sitting there thinking, “This is beautiful! Heavenly Father gave Steven this amazing talent!” It’s almost like listening to the divine.

Again, I know I sound kind of corny, especially to people who are not on the same spiritual level as I am. Maybe you’re not spiritual at all, maybe you  don’t believe in a higher power, maybe you are spiritual, but you don’t feel spiritual around music, maybe NASCAR makes you feel spiritual–I don’t know, but one of the things that makes me feel spiritual is music.

How this ties in with my post about not going to church is that I felt I was worshipping and experiencing a higher power while attending a concert, rather than sitting in a pew, listening to someone talk about Moses, or Nephi, or Adam, or Samuel, or Jacob, or the Tribes of Israel, or whomever. When Jon and Steven shared their music with the entire audience, I was worshipping; I was having a spiritual experience. You could even say I was attending a worship service, not to worship Jon and Steven, but to worship the power that gave them their talents and made each of them who they are.



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