A friend of mine is taking guitar lessons. He’s in his fifties and looks totally natural holding it as he strums the chords like a Nashville veteran musician. He’s not. He stumbles on the strings, only occasionally hitting the melody just right. In truth, he’s not very good – yet. As he started and stopped and started again, I said to him, “I guess it’s not as easy as Eric Clapton makes it look, huh?” Glancing up from his fumbling fingers, he smiled and said, “Yeah, but it’s so fun. By next summer they’ll say that about me.”
I’ll tell my daughters about this brief encounter. I’ll tell them that this is optimism — this is our lives. We stumble through unfamiliar chords and we keep trying to make beautiful music. Where we make our mistake is that we don’t enjoy the journey enough. We don’t smile and say, “This is fun. Just wait until you see where this life is going.”
My friend Jeff writes about the beauty of The In-Between. I hadn’t thought much about it until I read his book. The in-between is that place where every day seems mundane — a place where we’re waiting for something good that never seems to come. Jeff brilliantly illustrates how we can not only be content in these moments, but we can embrace them, enjoy them, and recognize that the in-between is where real growth happens.
I moved to Nashville exactly eight years ago this week. I left Michigan because my in-between was over. I had moved on, stepped out, discovered the greener grass. I had an exciting new career to start. I had arrived. Eight years later, that job is long gone. That “career” was really just a very brief classroom. I realize now that my in-between had only shifted. The truth is as long as there’s life, there’s always an in-between. I think we search so hard for meaning that we miss the meaning right in front of us. Meaning, it turns out, actually resides in the in-between.
God is working in the waiting. I think we should pick up our guitars and make music. There’s beauty in that. There’s beauty in the in-between.