2015 marks my 40th year as an organist. Being an organist has been quite an adventure, marked with the usual things of life – triumph and tragedy, happy and sad, good and not so good. Most of what has happened to me as an organist has been very positive, however, and I would do it again if given the opportunity.
I shall never forget the first time I went to practice the organ. I had just had my first lesson a couple of days before and went to the church full of both fear and enthusiasm. I pulled out my book (Keeler’s Basic Organ Technique and Repertoire), sat down on the bench and had a very strange moment.
The organ I was about to play was an Austin pipe organ that was original to the building. It was relatively small, about 13 ranks, but its sound was one of the things that had inspired me to take lessons. As I began I realized that, although I had heard this instrument many times before, I had never actually turned on the power. As my finger found the power button a moment of fear hit me. What if I pressed the wrong button? Would the instrument be damaged? What if it didn’t turn on at all? Did I really want to do this? A few other “what ifs” went through my mind.
Pushing the button seemed to be a simple thing, yet part of me realized that this was a moment of destiny. I knew that the organ would change my life if I allowed it to do so. Fortunately, my desire to learn the organ was greater than my fears. With a bit of trepidation, I pushed the red button and heard the blower in the basement start up. A new chapter in my life had begun.
How glad I am that I did not let fear win that day. Fear is the opposite of faith, and faith is the primary ingredient of all that is good. Too often we let fear dictate what we do, when what really need to do is press forward.