Have you ever felt completely daunted by the task ahead? I know I have! As a serial procrastinator, the thought that the task is simply too big to be achieved in a day is usually more than enough excuse to put off even making a start. It is hard to do things that don’t give immediate results, to place effort into reaching a goal that is presently down the track and around the corner.
Sometimes though, the goal is so vivid, so desired, that procrastination is driven away. I recently had that experience. For years I had wanted to learn the Double Bass—the cello on steroids that is bigger than I am and grooves harder than a maestros moustache. It was a pipe dream, but out of the blue I was suddenly given the opportunity to borrow one and I jumped at it headfirst.
The day I finally held it in my hands was exciting, but also incredibly overwhelming. I had spent years listening to the great Jazz players play this thing with a virtuosic mastery – and I could barely hold it. After years of playing bass guitar and being quite proficient in it, it was a strange feeling to be such a beginner, not even able to play a basic scale correctly.
And to add to the picture, part of the deal of borrowing it was to play in the local string orchestra, which meant learning how to use a bow and play classical music! The bow is very much an instrument in its own right, with its very own set of nuances to master!
Quite simply, I was facing a mountain. But it was a mountain I had been admiring from afar for a decade, and now that I was at its foot, it behooved me to start the climb. So I took the first step.
I’m not going to lie, it was awful at first. I couldn’t find the notes, the strings gave me blisters and the bow scraped and skittered across the strings. But I resolved to practice a little bit everyday regardless of how it sounded. I pictured myself as a six month older me being thankful for all the effort I put in today. And it worked.
It’s been more than six months now, and while I still have a long way to go, the progress has been excellent. The Double Bass no longer moans when my bow approaches its strings, and I am playing with confidence with the rest of the string orchestra. My fingers are now flying through pieces of music that previously seemed way beyond my skill level. A little step everyday can certainly take you places.
Growing in Faith
And it has got me to thinking, what other areas can I apply this principle to? What other mountains in my life do I need to just get started with small simple steps? Once the journey has begun, there is no telling where you can go.
One area that stands out to me is becoming a better Christian. Having been raised in a Christian home and following the path of faith all my life, I’ve reached a steady plateau where everything seems to be just ticking along. But I want to keep growing, keep moving in my journey, and to do that I need to start with the little things – little steps every day.
When I look at the men and women of faith I admire, the chasm between them and me seems so far, so wide, that it seems overwhelming to think that I could ever attain that level of faith, that level of relationship with God. It definitely won’t happen overnight. But it won’t happen at all if I don’t take the first step. And another after that…
Thomas Devenish lives in Hobart, Tasmania with his wife and daughter. He works as a motion designer and enjoys the diverse experiences life has to offer, from wake-boarding to curling up with a good book on a rainy day. Thomas Devenish’s previous articles may be viewed atwww.pressserviceinternational.org/thomas-devenish.html