Last month, I got out my Christmas songbooks, determined this was the year I would learn to play an entire song (as it was meant to be played). I chose “Here We Come A’wassailing” because it was a song we used to sing in grade school. (Why our music teacher thought a bunch of kids in rural Alabama knew anything about wassailing is still a mystery. But it’s a fun song.)
It has not been a pretty process. The first time I attempted the song, it sounded like a dirge. A long dirge. It took about twenty minutes for me to find the notes. The second time wasn’t much better. Or the third. Or the thirtieth.
In fact, I grew so despondent that I just leafed through the book, playing a different song (badly) each day, but concentrating on a different line in each song and repeating it to make my fingers stay on the right keys and get the rhythm in the ballpark at least.
Then two nights ago, I had come full circle and the next song in the book was again “Here We Come A’wassailing.” I started to play. Now, I was no Mozart. I wasn’t even a second-year elementary student. But I was better. My fingers moved more quickly to the right keys, and I could sing along with my attempt. Motivated, I stopped where I made mistakes and repeated the same measure until it worked.
I probably won’t be showcasing my Christmas song ability this year. But sometimes you just need the smallest indication that you are really learning in order to keep going. And I did. So I am.