I had a real learning experience this past week. As I stated last week, I am always on the lookout for new and novel topics to share with you. Sometimes I have to hunt for the words. Sometimes I do not. It was my sad experience to be confronted, head-on with an attack on my esteem and self-worth.
Nearly four decades of service in the fire and emergency world have equipped me with a wide array of experiences. Those of you who have been reading my words for a long time now know that my chops have been broken on countless occasions. Sometimes I have borne up well under the strain. At other times I have let my spirits dip in the face of frustration, fear, and persecution.
My experiences probably mirror yours in many respects. You might also recall that I have urged you to battle through your fears and frustrations on countless occasions. So it is that I have come to think of myself as somewhat of a tough and thick-skinned soul. Last week I rediscovered the fact that I have a soft underbelly of fragility in the ego arena.
So it is that I come to you with this story of fragility and hurt. For some time now I have wanted to move along in the world of community band music. Two of the three bands that I play with have been meeting my needs very nicely. I like the people and the music that we play. Each of these bands is different, as is the audience that each seeks to nurture and entertain.
However, in the third band, I have noticed a series of changes that have not been to my liking. For one thing, there has been a decided drift toward the concept of creating a dance band style of operation. The number of fine marches, overtures, and show music has diminished. The music has not been to my liking.
Apparently I am not the only one who feels this way. Members have been drifting away in dribs and drabs over the past few months. As is my way, I have done some research on the other bands that meet on the evening when this band meets. I selected a particular group that seemed to appeal to my needs and desires. I discussed the change with that music director and he invited me to sit in with that group.
The hard part came when I called the director of the band that I wanted to leave. Let me tell you that I have been playing with that group for well over eight years. I developed a pretty good relationship with the director. Or so I thought until I made my desires known.
That person immediately began to get defensive. They began to tell me how I was not that good of a player. They then told me how much other people did not like my playing and alluded to the fact that I was not really a good musician and not a good reader of music at all. I was stopped dead in my tracks. Here was a person that I trusted. Here was a person who I felt had taught me a great deal. I did not leave the band a few years back because of the loyalty I had toward that person. Now when I approached them in an honest attempt to convey my feelings and reasons for my decision