Twice a year, there is a special ceremony I like to go through. It's completely for appearances, it's totally unnecessary, and it shows that I still treat some objects better than another human being! I'm speaking about my pride and joy: my electric guitar.
My Les Paul is the one item that reminds me of my old life. It's an object I wanted since I was in high school. Even when my mother could only able to afford to buy me a cheap Washburn beginner guitar, I loved it as if it were a '59 Custom with a cherry sunburst finish. In the evening, I'd listen to guys who could make their own Gibsons sing and cry in my headphones.
After deciding I wanted to live a more simplistic life, I remembered that desire from my youth and how I thought my life would be complete if only I had that guitar. Already knowing that this was a false idea, I entertained the idea of buying one. I knew I would play it for a month then put it away. I knew if I spent $2000 I would chastise myself for wasting money. Yet the memory of that kid, dreaming of playing with that thick Gibson sound, would not go away. I knew that part of discernment was reconnecting with what gave you true pleasure, and remembering those dreams you once had. I also knew that it would hurt to spend money on such a magnificent instrument and still suck at playing guitar.
In the end, I chose to buy an Epiphone Les Paul Standard. A slightly less-quality version of the guitar that's made off-shore instead of in the U.S. Some of the electronics were different, but beyond that there is little difference. I figured I could live with a $650 mistake rather than a $2000, but I would still be feeding that inner child.
And just like I said, I played it for a month, got frustrated because I couldn't play "Samba Pa Ti" the way Carlos Santana did, and within a month it sat in it's custom case in my closet. But rather than forget it completely, I started doing something different: I kept listening to that inner voice that wanted to still be that guitar rockstar. I realized it wasn't about fame, or money, or being the desire of women, it was that ability to create music so intense that it stirred emotion in your heart. Whether it came from a Les Paul, Fender Strat, or a cheap guitar, I knew that was the dream I was chasing, and it was something I could still attain...even as I prepared to become a Capuchin.
During our lifetime, we go through cycles where we develop certain desires. A lot of the time, we don't even know what to do with them, we're just aware that we want. And as we grow and become adults those wants change, and our ability to be satisfied requires more than an expensive guitar, or a pony, or a 1979 Chevy Monte Carlo SS.
While my Les Paul ran quite a bit of money (relatively speaking), it's more than just an object to me now. My desire to play guitar is something that connects me to my youth: that idealistic state where I could close my eyes and imagine I were Carlos Santana, Jimmy Page, Stevie Ray Vaughn, or any of a number of guitar greats. That ability to envision myself living out a dream, a simple dream, helps me to connect with my inner desires and focus on what I see as important.
So twice a year I take off the old strings, get out the guitar polish and an old rag, and spend my time as I go over every square inch of the instrument, polishing it to a perfect glow. I know that by tomorrow I will have fingerprints on the body from playing it, but by taking that time to care for the one last investment I still own, it reminds me that some of the greatest dreams in our lives don't involve a perfect job, a perfect spouse, or even the perfect house and car. Sometimes our greatest dreams are so simple, we confuse them with useless pursuits.
This is about the time where I tie everything together to show how my childhood dream to play guitar is a direct reflection of my vocation. I'm sure you all saw that coming.
But right now, my guitar's restrung, I'm hooked into the system, and 20,000 fans are waiting for me to play Europa.
You're never too old to chase your dreams.