Previous Post: The Guitar – Part I
The air within the church was hot and the job was hard but the hired help worked diligently as the merciless sun outside heated up the room. It wasn’t easy work but it was work none-the-less and it was part of the program each one of them agreed to participate in when they came to the church for help and support. Being accountable and watched all the time wasn’t easy either; trying to break bad habits of alcohol and drugs was even harder. Yes there were good days, but on days like this when so much was expected of them – well, sometimes it was tempting just to leave it all behind and to go back to the way things used to be…at least then they knew what was expected of them and they were comfortable in that knowledge.
Shaking his head Isaac tried to clear such thoughts…yet they kept lingering – lingering at the edge of his mind confusing him and the goal he was steering towards. He had to break this cycle because he had to be there for his Grandfather. There was simply no one else.
A shout from the distance shook Isaac to reality. A rest was being given and everyone was breaking into groups, slumping to the floor and enjoying a brief moment of socializing. Isaac looked around. He didn’t want to get too comfortable with these guys in fear it might cause him to go back on his word. Becoming too close with this crowd could mean his going back to the life he was trying to break free from. Hard as it was Isaac wandered away from the crowd looking for a place of solitude. Instead he found himself in front of a Takamine 12-string guitar, nearly in perfect condition and worth well over the amount he needed for his Grandfather’s numerous medicines. Looking around he discovered he was alone, unwatched for the moment and without too much hesitation he grabbed his prize and headed out the back door.
Out in the afternoon sun he scanned the area for a place to hide the guitar. He knew he had to be quick with his mission or else be caught. The church leader would notice him gone if he didn’t return soon. With luck he noticed a recycle dumpster not far away. He ran over to it and opened the lid and was rewarded with a nearly empty bin. He immediately but carefully placed the guitar down and covered it with a few stray pieces of cardboard. Once he had completed his tasked he casually reentered the church.
That night under the cover of darkness, Isaac returned to the church and recovered the guitar. He stood there for a moment contemplating his actions, but before his conscience could get the upper hand he defiantly shook his head, as if the motion would knock the thoughts clear, and said in a harsh whisper said, “Grandpa, I have to…”
Isaac had arrived early the next morning to show his Grandfather the prize he had scored at a nearby garage sale. Although Isaac’s Grandfather had some doubts about the way Isaac obtained the guitar, he couldn’t help but feel joy as he watched and listened to his grandson play the instrument. Seeing his grandson slumped in his chair as he played brought back memories of years passed when he was healthy, full of life, and sharing the love of music to a much younger boy. The sound of Isaac’s voice jolted him back to the present.
“…selling the guitar in order to get the cash we need for your medicines. I’m sure…”, Isaac was saying but before he could get any farther he was interrupted by his Grandfather’s exclamation of surprise. Not so much a word but a sound. Isaac became concerned as he looked at his Grandfather and tried to distinguish what the problem was.
“Grandfather! What’s wrong?!” Isaac was instantly at his Grandfather’s side. Concern rising within him as the seconds passed.
Looking back at Isaac, his Grandfather tried to compose himself. He had become so full of emotion at the thought of Isaac selling the guitar that he had become temporarily speechless. But slowly he began to calm himself down enough to say, “Isaac, the guitar! You can’t sell it…”
Isaac was thoroughly confused as to why his Grandfather would react in such a way about a guitar he had said he found at a garage sale. He stood by his Grandfather’s side anxious to find out what caused the emotional eruption.
“Don’t you see Isaac?” his Grandfather continued, “This guitar is a blessing. Not only to me but to you.” His Grandfather lay back on the pillows exhausted and closed his eyes.
Isaac could see that the whole ordeal had taken its toll on his Grandfather and so he leaned over him and whispered, “Sure Grandpa. I understand.” And with those words, Isaac reached for the guitar, held it, and then began to play the sweet old hymns his Grandfather adored so much; the first song he played he had learned as a boy, taught to him by his Grandfather, Amazing Grace.
Continue the story: The Guitar – Part III