As a musician, you wonder if what you're doing has an impact on anything in the world. Sure, it's easy to say that you have if you've sold millions of CD's like the Beatles or Led Zeppelin. But what about your average musician who plays in front of small audiences and doesn't have that hit CD?
I've played places that have only had a crowd consisting of a handful of people and some of those places didn't provide the nicest atmosphere. I've played a place that had a dirt floor which was sloped downwards towards the area where the band would set up. When it rained, the water would run down towards where I was playing and there was a sump pump there to pump it out. Now I don't know what the actual definition is for a dive, but I'm pretty sure that place met all of the qualifications needed to classify it as one.
In the summer, I would quite often go outside my house to practice the music I played out at gigs. I'd be out there enjoying the weather as I would practice. Well, there was a girl that lived in the house across the street. She was around 12 years old. She was starting to have symptoms that indicated that there may have been something wrong with her heart. She went into the hospital for some testing and had died while they were running the tests.
Later, I had learned that she liked to listen to me as I would practice. Whenever she saw me out playing my guitar she would open up her bedroom window to hear me. I never knew. I was told that she enjoyed what I was playing and would even be teased by her sister, who would say: "Bob is playing. You better hurry up and go listen!" Most of you probably know how siblings like to tease.
So here I was just practicing for gigs where there were only a handful of people and I was thinking to myself that I wasn't really making any kind of impact anywhere. Yet, someone was listening every time I practiced. It apparently must have meant something to her. I never knew until her mother had mentioned it, after her passing. To think that what I was doing brought that much enjoyment into such a short life brings considerable satisfaction to me.
So when I get discouraged about certain things, I quite often think about that. Sure it is sad that a life could be cut so short. But what guarantees do we have in this life? We never really know when our last day will be. So the only thing we can do is enjoy it while it lasts and try to bring some happiness into the lives of others. That's all that really matters. Sometimes you bring happiness to others without even trying. As I have come to find out.
To me, this means more to me than any applause I could ever have received. It also causes me to wonder where else I may have brought some form of happiness to someone else. I could wonder about this forever but, unfortunately, I am a busy man. So you'll have to excuse me now. I need to go practice for my next gig. You never know who might be listening.
Photo Credit: Image created by Bob Craypoe, also known as R. L. Crepeau.