The Pain of Starting - The fingers on my left hand are in pain. Not the whole finger, but just the tips. There are currently visible indentations running across the width of each of my fingers. Ouch, it is currently hurting to type this out. So a question that may be wondering through you head right now is why or how I managed to only inflict pain on my finger tips of my left hand? And why in general would anyone inflict pain on themselves anyway? And then blog about it? I pulled my guitar out of the closet today and had a decent reunion with it as the memory of all the songs that I know by heart proceeded forth from the hollow body of my Fender. I bought my first and only guitar the July before my senior year of high school. My best friend Grant was and is ( a terribly talented musician. He had started to show me how to play chords on his old classical guitar and I thought it would be cool if I knew how to play the guitar. So I saved up some money from my lawn mowing that summer and went to Mars Music one Saturday afternoon. I went to the guitar room and picked up a snazzy Taylor and sat done with a pick in hand and strummed the guitar. It sounded nice aside from the fact that I had forgotten how to do the chord correctly. So I asked one of the employees how to play a G. He showed me and for the next three hours I played G, and only G, on every single one of the fifty plus acoustic guitars that they had. Then I started looking at the price tags and eventually found my Fender, G sounded great on it. Over the next year, Grant continue to teach me more about playing guitar and I spent hours each week trying to make it sound like I knew what I was doing. It never really did, but I really had fun just rocking out to whatever song I could remember and carrying my guitar in my truck just in case the opportunity presented itself to play at youth group or at summer camp. Grant and I wrote a song that year that we recorded and put onto a CD. It was played on the radio, once. But I don't care because that was the first and only song that I've ever had on the radio. It was also the first song Grant had on the radio, but he has had many since then. In college my guitar was my study break freshman year and my roommate Matt and I would play together in the living room whenever we were suppose to be studying. I still took it with me on retreats and was very quick to let someone else play it after I exhausted my four song play list. But then I became and upper classman and eventually (nothing wrong with four and a half years) graduated. In that time, the chances to play my guitar were fewer because I had a bunch of other things to do. But now, coming up on two years since graduation, I pulled out my guitar and played my four songs. It was nice to know that I still could.
But, remember; now I am in pain. When I was playing my guitar on a regular basis it wasn't painful. My finger tips had calluses and when I slide them up and down the metal and nylon stings they weren't shredded like they were today. I could play all four of my songs and then go on with my day not thinking about my fingers condition. But now, without the calluses to protect them, they are sore and still indented.
So that got me thinking, like anything that I post about, and I wondered how this small pain in does my finger tips correlate to life and the other activities that when first started or restarted cause pain. A quote that was hanging my family’s kitchen growing up was "It takes discipline, not desire, to change things." Another favorite quote of mine is "The pain of discipline today, or the pain of regret tomorrow. You choose." Patrick Williams, the head recruiter for the Texas Financial Group - Dallas ( told me that my first day of my first summer as an intern over four years ago. I have seen first hand these thoughts of discipline and pain going hand in hand to lead to the ultimate goal. Just because I think of a great idea to implement in my life or a new habit that will add to my enjoyment of life comes across my desk, that doesn't mean that they/re going to actually happen. It is worthless to say that because I have a positive attitude about being healthy, I will be. It takes intentional and sometimes in the beginning painful disciple to push through to attain the goal. Premeditated activity, regardless of how you feel about it at the time, is the only way to make a good intention and good habit. I see this day in and day out with my clients. The first check they write toward the strategy we have decided together helps them get where they need to be financially is always the hardest. Once it becomes part of their budget and part of their monthly routine, it isn't as painful. Even though they know that each month they are getting closer to the goal, that doesn't change that the first few months are the most challenging. Just like the first days on a new workout regime are hard and leave me in pain, the next workout is always a little bit easier.
So, even though my fingers are still stinging from my jam session this morning after church, I am glad that I have begun to re-callous my fingers so I can begin to really enjoy my guitar again. Discipline or Regret, which pain do you choose?