In my church I am a musician. My main instrument is the drums, but I played the congas for more than three years before I moved to the drums full time and I do know enough of piano and guitar to have the flexibility to play the other instruments. Last night was one of those nights where I had to go to the piano because no one was there.
Thankfully, I was given the song list with the key, so that made my time a lot easier. It also helped that I knew how to play most of the songs so I based my playing on memory. The problems: I was playing with a drummer that couldn’t hear what I was playing and couldn’t get the rhythm just right and I was forced to accommodate to that circumstance. I also have to deal with people that can’t seem to keep up the appropriate time.
The last song was one that I did know, but in another key. I tried to translate the chords from one key to another, but I failed to do one correctly. This song was in a rhythm that the drummer doesn’t do well, so that didn’t help. This song I would do it at the appropriate time, but in church I have to think like a turtle when playing the piano.
It was for this song that I got the most heat for. The thing is that it wasn’t all my fault. It’s not my fault that the church has focused so much of having melodic instrument playing musicians that they haven’t thought about who will take my place when I get promoted by God. It’s not my fault that when I’m not in the drums the church sings as if we are at a funeral. Yet they still want to put the blame on me.
The one thing that surprised me was the amount of peace that I had while in the devotional, even though I knew that I was sucking at the piano (especially when compared to the more professional musicians). I felt that what I had to offer was being acceptable by God and myself, even though it wasn’t perfect. I felt in the moment, which is rare. This was a feeling that I hadn’t had for a long time.
After the service, several people were complaining about how the devotional sucked. I get it, piano is not my main instrument. I just wished that they would consider what the experience has been like when no one was around and be grateful that I am there.
The co-pastor suggested that in the nights that I’m the only musician the devotionals should be an all hymn book devotional. There are a few problems with that. For one I don’t develop as a musician and the quality of the devotionals diminish. Also, I do not know how to play all hymns, so that makes it not be the suggestion that the church actually needs. When I hear this comment, I just want to put whoever says it in their place, because I know better than that: I’m a musician.