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Reflection number 1 in my “Days of Awe” preparation for the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) on the Jewish calendar. Looking at my life, I am good at coming up with ideas, but sometimes fall short of following through on them. I need accountability in my life in more areas. How to put this into practice in tangible ways? I do meet occasionally for personal accountability with a great friend, but could use this on a more regular basis.

I did decide to take one concrete step this week. For several years I have had the goal of learning to play guitar. I had years of piano lessons, but it has been a while. Since Joy is a much better pianist than I am, I don’t feel any motivation to attempt to relearn. My parents had an old guitar sitting in storage that they let me have. We bartered to have it fixed up, and then I set out to learn. Sort of. I played for a little, then let it slide. Then I’d play a few days a week for a couple of weeks. Then months without picking up the guitar.

A couple of years ago, I decided the problem was my lack of a real lesson book and somewhere to have my guitar accessible. Joy got me a stand and strap for Christmas. I bought a beginner lesson book. I started playing more. Abby would play around and dance while I practiced. I heard a lot of requests for “Dancing Guitar, Daddy!” Then we trained for foster kids … and time became precious. The practice kept getting less frequent. Once we were blessed to have the kids join us, there was no way to get practice. I didn’t want to play during the kids naps or after they were in bed. Their sleep is precious, and we don’t want to disturb them. I also don’t want to miss out on the time with Joy. While they are awake, it would be chaos to try to practice! They would go nuts, and my practice would get nowhere. Maybe over time we could come to some sort of ability to practice, but I don’t need to make Joy’s life harder in the evening.

What to do? Well, I need accountability. This week I approached a colleague who I know can play guitar. I asked him if he ever teaches guitar lessons. He said no, but after some conversation he provided me with some songs with chordings and agreed to meet with me periodically to hold me accountable. I have taken my guitar to my office, and warned my neighbor that he might have to put up with my musical stylings! Of course, now that I’ve put this out publically, I am sure that I will hear more about this from you as well. Bring it on!

– Sam

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