She hated that feeling.
She hated feeling anxious and worried about something she desperately wanted to do.
Pamela admired the stage, the lead singer of her church playing the guitar. She strummed quick and steady, and the rhythm — Oh, the delightful rhythm. Something tingled up her spine that made her want to get up out of her cushion and dance.
She then frowned. Will I ever be able to play like that?
She had always wanted to play the guitar. And obviously, her mother realizes that. Her mother bought Pamela a cute guitar about the size of her arm when she was eight, but Pamela insisted, “But that’s not real.”
Then, over and over, her mother patiently lectured about how they were trying to balance the money they had. But Pamela covered her ears and repeated, “That’s not real.”
When Pamela was about eleven years old in sixth grade, she was old enough to play the background guitar in church. She was extremely excited, and everyone knew what she wanted for on her birthday which was coming up in a week — A brand new, shiny guitar. It would be heaven. Pamela smiled and sat down confidently on her lucky, hot pink chair. She said out loud, “I just know it. Mother knows how much I want a guitar. She’ll buy me one, for sure.”
Then she hopped out of her chair, took out an I’M LUCKY! sticker, and pinned it to her forehead.
About a week later on a bright and early Saturday, Pamela yawned, rubbing her forehead. The sticker was still on her, and she glowed at that. It was her birthday! She could already feel the guitar on her lap, and she started to daydream.
She stuck a smile on her face. I am so excited! She thought. That guitar… Oh, she wanted it more than cake.
As she expected, of course on every birthday, her parents yelled, “Surprise!” She had to roll her eyes. It was kind of getting old. But the smile was still there.
“Pamela! We got amazing gifts for you!” her mother exclaimed, grinning. Her parents exchanged small looks, and Pamela had a great feeling.
She wanted to open the biggest ones last. A patterned purse was lying in front of her. “So cute!” she squealed.
Gramma sent three hundred dollars inside an envelope. Her father was impressed. “Look how much she cares about you!”
Other presents came — some from her uncle, her aunt, and her cousins. Henry, a little two year old, wrote her a heartwarming letter. Her whole family had to whisper, “Aww.”
Then, looking around to her left and right, she searched for the guitar. But it seemed like there were no more presents in the house. Pamela was 101% confused. “Is that all?” she asked, her smile fading.
Her father was bewildered, but her mother just laughed. “You can’t get enough of anything, can’t you?” Her mother said. She took the three hundred dollars out of Pamela’s hand, and asked, “Tell me. What do you want to buy with the money?” She smiled as if she already knew what Pamela’s answer would be.
An O curved from her mouth. “I could choose anything?” Her mother nodded.
It took Pamela a while to think. She thought something was alerting her inside her brain. She tapped her foot for a little while. Then, an answer popped into her, and she slapped her head.
“A guitar! Of course!” she yelled. “Wait— is that an option?”
Her father chuckled. “That took you a while,” he teased.
Pamela was too eager to say anything. “I wanna go now, now, now, now!” She declared, jumping up and down. “Now!”
Her parents laughed again. “Of course. Let’s go get your guitar. Jacket first!”
Pamela was so overwhelmed with excitement that she didn’t bother to wear a jacket. She ignored the goosebumps that were trying to ruin the fun.
Wow! Holy moly! Pamela remembered the price tag of the guitar. Really expensive. They had to get one of the cheapest ones, a guitar for two hundred dollars. Then, her parents bought something called a pick to strum your guitar with. I thought they all used their fingers.
After that, they needed to buy the case for the guitar. “What?” Mother said, surprised. “Forty dollars for a case?”
She was a few steps away from getting on stage. “Mother, I need lessons.”
She glanced at her. “Lessons? Of course! We already scheduled one. The lady was nice, her name is Kerry Fiske. You’ll be having lessons with her next Friday.”
Pamela groaned. “Friday? I can’t wait that long!”
“Yes, you can. Let’s take things a step at a time, okay? We literally just bought your guitar today.”
Pamela was silent. She knew her mother was right. She had to take things step by step. It wouldn’t be easy to rush things.
She sighed. But waiting wasn’t so easy either.
It was the day of the lesson, and Pamela bit her lip nervously. But her heart was jumping up and down with joy. She could have danced. Carrying her guitar case with her guitar in it, she proudly went inside the room. There she expected some young adult lady help her get set up. But it wasn’t like that at all. The woman that was in front of her wasn’t a woman. She was a girl in high school.
At first, Pamela was confused. Kerry Fiske looked very familiar. “Hi..!” Pamela stammered. "I'm Pamela."
Kerry smiled, and said, “Cool! I’m Kerry. I love playing guitar, and I spent half an hour talking with your mother on the phone! She said you were desperate to learn. Are you?”
Pamela nodded, the excitement washing over her again. “I can’t wait!” she told her.
Her mother interrupted, “Pamela, this girl is from your church. Remember her? The lead singer from church two weeks ago? She sings and she plays the guitar!”
Pamela’s smile widened. “Wow! That is you! I can’t wait to learn guitar from you!” she said, delighted.
Some more conversations and questions were said and asked, and then it was the questions about the payment. Pamela suddenly shivered and shifted her right leg behind her left. She glanced down at her guitar. When will the lesson start?
Kerry noticed, and informed her, “You and your parents came twenty minutes early. We can start early if you want.”
Pamela cheered up. “I’d like to,” she replied shyly.
Inside of her, her heart was beating. Her first lesson! Her favorite instrument! It was all too good to be true. She would learn the different parts of the guitar, how to make those beautiful strums…
Kerry waited for Pamela to get settled in her seat. Then, she took out a folded piece of paper and caught Pamela’s eye.
Kerry said, “Today, we will be learning about the different parts of the instrument, and learning how to tune this.”
Pamela drooped. “T-that’s it? What about playing some music? I can pick out some songs online, and you can teach me some chords, and the strums and how to hold the pick, and what to do if I drop my pick inside the guitar, and—”
Kerry just laughed. “Slow down there. We have to take everything step by step. And before you know it, you’ll be just a few steps away to be a great guitarist. Hey, you can even play the guitar at our church!”
“That’s exactly what I want to do!”
She kept smiling. “Pamela, if you want to do that, then we have to take it slowly. After we learn more about the guitar, maybe after two lessons, we can learn some chords.”
“Two lessons? That’s two weeks!”
“It will be worth it, I promise you. Time flies! In a flash, you’ll be a few steps away.”
Pamela inhaled. That isn’t what she wanted to do. She wanted to learn all the chords in the whole chord book, then learn the strums, and do everything at the same time. She had room in her brain for everything! But like Kerry and her mother said, Step by step. It sounds easy, but it’s not easy.
But if Pamela were to be a world-famous guitarist someday, she will definitely write in her advice book—
Take things step by step because before you know it, you’ll only be a few steps away.