Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, bass player and one of modern music’s most prolific writer remembers when, as a young man, he was searching for a new bass guitar:
“I have had my eye on a secondhand Fender in the back of Barratt’s music store in Newcastle since the beginning of the summer term. It is a careworn relic of the sixties, the fingerboard scarred with overuse at the third and fifth frets, the paintwork ruined and the varnish flaked and piebald.
Among all the shiny others on the wall there is something orphaned, something life-scarred about this instrument that appeals to me. I have absolutely no desire for a new bass. I want something with a history, where every scratch and dent in the varnish has a tale to tell.
I try to imagine all of the music that has been played on its sculpted surfaces and what the musicians must have looked like and thought about, holding this thing in their hands night after night, gig after gig, road trip after road trip.
What were their dreams and their aspirations and how close did they get to realizing them? Why was it sold, and what were the circumstances?
No one in the shop remembers, but I am convinced that I can pick up the trail where it was left and if I have as much skill in dreaming as in playing, I will dream up a new and glorious future that the past has only hinted at.”
Sting knew that every scratch had a tale to tell, every dent screamed of a moment in history. Battered and worn meant a life lived in the hands of someone who loved the music.
But that scarred old Fender hanging in a store also proved that sometimes life can get complicated and some things simply need to be released.
Or, that maybe, because of hardship the owner had to sell the used up guitar just to put food on the table.
Perhaps, the previous owner died and no one else truly cared about the music once played. Or, maybe the bass was abandoned because it was the constant reminder of a dream never fully realized.
There were beautiful, pristine shiny guitars hanging on the wall in that store but Sting chose the battered and beat up guitar because it had a back story.
Sting knew that the Fender had a history but, more importantly, he could see a future for that used guitar. He could imagine the music that could be played if that guitar was in his hands.
God has his eye on you and he looks at your life the same way.
He isn’t looking for shiny perfection. He knows you’ve got a history. God knows if those dents mean you’ve played hard and been in some crazy places. He knows if you have those scars because someone has neglected you or worse, mistreated you.
He knows if you’ve been abandoned and left behind because the new shiny version of you seems more appealing.
God knows your history, still, he can imagine the future. He can see what you are worth, scars and all, if you’re in his hands.
He knows he can write new and beautiful music with you even though you may appear worn and used up. In fact, like Sting, he chooses you because you do have a back story.
God, ever the musician, has another song to compose, a new history to write. And, he chooses... you... to be his Fender.