Last night I had just turned off the lamp next to our bed and laid down to sleep (lately a chaotic dream-filled adventure, inexplicably) when suddenly in my mind's eye I saw my guitar teacher and my gut wrenched into despair.
(This sounds dramatic but usually happens to me about every 3.5 seconds, with the guitar teacher being the variable, so don't be alarmed. Or do?)
I had the best guitar teacher. He was (presumably is) one of the sweetest people you could ever meet. He played for the worship team at the Catholic church I attended until I was 8. Then I moved away, but when I signed up for guitar lessons at Pellegrino's music in Belden Village when I turned 14, lo and behold, he was the staff teacher.
Every Thursday I drove to Belden with scratchy ripped CD's in hand, full of The Who and Carly Simon and John Mayer and Michelle Branch and whatever other million songs I HAD TO LEARN. We'd put them on the stereo and he'd teach me the chords.
I took these lessons for years, and we became good friends. We even played at church togther on Christmas Eve sometimes, which was the best night at St. Mary's in Massillon. Catholic Churches have HUGE ceilings, and that's what Christmas Eve calls for. And dimness and candles and the small sense of awe that tells you that you need to shush, because something bigger than you is happening.
Anyway, I went off to college and met Aaron and fell in love and ate lots of bagel sandwiches at Bagel Street and learned Spanish and rollerbladed up Morton Hill, and then I was planning a wedding. So I invited my guitar teacher.
He came! He came by himself. He gave us a present. He got a new suit, he said.
I don't mean this metaphorically or existentially, I mean it literally: I don't know how to accept graciousness like that. How does the thought of him doing those things - driving three hours, getting a new suit and bringing a gift to the wedding of a punk kid he used to teach guitar to - not absolutely crush you? I wanted him to come; I wouldn't have invited him otherwise, but it would have been so much easier had he snubbed me or left a dead cat on my doorstep or something. Accepting sweetness like that is painful and I don't know how to do it.
So I stay up at night, hoping I was nice enough.