I have this affliction. Maybe affliction is too strong a word to use here, but sometimes it feels like an affliction. You see, I always want to be the best. This has been going on for most of my life. If it is true that we are given lessons to learn during our lifetime, then HUMILITY is probably the title of mine.
When I was a kid, any friend I had, needed to be my exclusive best friend. This was not easy to accomplish, since we moved around a lot, and friendships had already been established long before I got to town. In fact, I don’t believe it ever happened.
Every contest I entered was engulfed with the hope that I would win first prize. I have no blue ribbons in my trophy case, I don’t even have a trophy case.
In each class I have taken, I wanted to be singled out as the best – the teacher’s pet and the envy of all the other students. Nope.
I want by blog to be Freshly Pressed so I can have thousands of followers and hundreds of favorable comments on each post. Still hoping.
Intellectually, I understand the futility of these desires. I have read many quotes that say it isn’t important to be the best, just be better than you were yesterday. Really?!
Throughout my life, I have been presented with ample opportunities to be humble, and to practice acceptance. Yesterday I was presented yet another one. Did I mention I am learning to play the banjo? Learning is the operative word.
On the Meet Up sight, Regina found a monthly bluegrass jam in Grapevine. That is just about 10 or 15 miles, as the crow flies, from where I live. Of course, it is somewhat further by auto, since I have to go around the lake to get there. I was really excited. My teachers have said jamming is exactly what I need to progress in my banjo playing ability.
So, I yesterday I packed up my banjo and headed to Grapevine for a four hour jam session. Don’t get me wrong, I did not think for one minute that I would be the best player there. But in my dreams…
There must have been 25 players present. Guitars, fiddles, mandolins, dobros, upright bass, and of course banjos. I was one of 5 banjo players. You guessed it, I was in fifth place, but there really wasn’t a contest – only in my mind. Everyone present had probably been playing bluegrass for at least 100 years, but that doesn’t help my feelings of forced humility. They were playing and singing songs I have never heard of, and were playing them really fast. I sat in the circle and noodled around on my banjo for four hours.
Regina asked me if I thought I would go back next month. My response was, “Absolutely!” It was lots of fun, with lots of interesting lessons and pointers thrown in. Who knows, after about 25 more years, I might just be the best bluegrass player at the jam.