Sunday, July 27, 2008

In a Guitar Case

Sent to my comments section by Tim.

In A Guitar Case

I have carried guitar cases into Unitarian Universalist churches probably between 50 - 100 times in my life - mainly my own church but also a couple of others. I've played and sung to children, adults, activists. I've been met with everything from delight to indifference, but it's always been something I've enjoyed.

This morning I walked into my church, First UU of Richmond, with two guitar cases, and my friend Greg Greenway walked in with one. Inside his was his fabulous 1972 (or '73, I always forget) Martin D-28, which he played fantastically. I tried to hang in with my Regal dobro and my Carter D-10 pedal steel. The service was joyous, and any chance I get to play with Greg lifts my spirit to a very high level.

Around the same time, a few hundred miles to the west, a man walked into Tennessee Valley UU Church with a guitar case, but inside was a shotgun. This troubled man began firing, killing a brother named Greg McKendry who witnesses say took the blast to save others - one of which was his foster son who was performing on the pulpit. (A foster father - this was a man familiar with sacrificing for others.)

I have been devasted by this tragedy, so I can only imagine the grief felt by my brothers and sisters in Tennessee. I hope this is not perceived as sexist, but I think that something may be genetically ingrained in a man that his family must be protected. Greg McKendry did this - bless him. He is my hero.

For a brief moment I wondered if placing one's family in the midst of a religion that promotes inclusiveness in a violently intolerant world is a proper thing to do. Fortunately that thought passed - bigotry and intolerance can not be surrendered to.

But in a guitar case. A contraption where wood and wire fight one another as beauty comes out - that's what belongs in a guitar case. A guitar is an instrument of joy and consolation and action - remember, Woody's machine killed fascists, but what it really killed was fascism. That a guitar case could house an instrument of death and tragedy sickens me.

I send love to the Tennesee Valley UU Church congregation and to the UU family everywhere. Roots hold me close, wings set me free, spirit of life come to me, come to me.

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