Always A Beginner?

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Yesterday, I bought a used guitar off a dude on craigslist.

This isn’t the first guitar I’ve bought off CL, and certainly won’t be the last, either. For you guitar nerds, it’s a black Ovation six string EA. Model? I dunno, I just know it sounds pretty when I play it. I figure this ax will scratch my itch of needing a musical outlet when academics get too tough.

Anywho, truth be told, I’m really not a very good guitar player. I’m the guy who you’d want sitting around a campfire with you, though. I have a bazillion tunes in my head and can play most any pop, rock, folk or R&B song ever recorded. But, I’m really not very good.

To me, good equals Joe Satriani. Good means Steve Vai or Eddie Van Halen. Leo Keotkey or Kellor Williams. These are gguitar masters who can, with mind boggling precision, make their fingers dance up and down the fret board with more grace than a starlet. Me? I can play rhythm of Dylan and Johnny Cash songs pretty well, but I don’t know the first thing about solos.

Changing gears, I just got done reading through the bios of my fellow narrative med students. There are only a handful of men in the program, so we tend to stand out a little more. On the bios of one of the other guys, he closed with a statement I thought was worth sharing and which, in light of my new purchase, intrigued me.

“Michael believes in the importance of always being a beginner and is committed to always beginning.”

Typically, I don’t like to think of myself as a beginner, even if I am. Heck, I’ve been playing guitar for over a dozen years and I’m still no better than I was when I only had a few months under my belt. I wish I had the time, patience and inclination to learn to solo. Who knows? Maybe I will this year!

But, since I consider being a beginner kinda a bad thing, why would my classmate devote his energy to always being a beginner?

So, I thunk on this.

Are you pondering what I’m pondering, Pinky? Yes, I think so! Being a beginner is NOT a bad thing. It is, really, just being honest.

If you take all the accumulated knowledge from all time, well, just think on that for a while. Now, think about the person you know with the most education. I know one or two M.D.s and J.D.s. By this, I mean these folks are both a doctor and a lawyer. I also know a ton of Ph.D.s. A couple people with multiple Ph.D.s. Yet, even with all that knowledge, do they know the third track on Bob Dylan’s “Desire” or all the words? Unlikely.

We all have what we know. For me, I love to learn. I enjoy pouring knowleedge into my brain. I figure most of my classmates do, too, or else they wouldn’t be in the program. To claim to be anything but a beginner in the ggrand scheme of life is intellectually dishonest. There’s so much to know, and life is so short. Yet, with all the fervor within me, I plan to become as much of an expert as I can in as many areas as I can…but, due to the reality of the world, I’ll remain a beginner. And I’m cool with that.

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