I played hooky from writing this blog last week and went to listen to Tommy Emmanuel play guitar. If you ever have the chance to play hooky from anything—even, perhaps, a date with the most amazing chocolate cake of your life—to hear this man play, I recommend it.
He played almost every flavor of music from blues to bluegrass to rock and played with virtuosity. But in addition to his incredible skill, what made him so fun to listen to is that he played with joy.
The program quoted Emmanuel as saying, “When I play, I feel like I’m plugged into something. I don’t know what it is, and I don’t really want to know. I just want to know that it’s there.”
I never considered that approach to whatever It is. I most certainly want to know what It is and how It works before I plug in, but it’s just possible that the socket is not the size and shape of understanding. The socket is much more likely the size of “accepting the imperfections…along with the obvious accomplishments,” to quote the program again.
In his book Listen with Your Heart, Basil Pennington says, “Happiness consists in knowing what you want, and then knowing you have it, or are on the way to getting it. What we want is God.”
He doesn’t say, “What we want is to understand God.” He continues, “Our minds seek infinite truth. Our hearts are made for infinite love.” These are experiences beyond our comprehension. These are plugging into the unknown.
Richard Rohr, in one of his daily meditations, writes, “Your image of God creates you.”
It seems to me that Emmanuel’s God is completely trustworthy and delights in him and his music. I’ll take that.