It took a funeral for me to figure it out. A dear friend called some years back and asked if I would sing at her mother's funeral service. Of course I was saddened to find out that she had lost her mom and I was flattered that she wanted me to sing. I had never done any such thing and it had never occurred to me that anyone would consider me for such a thing. She mentioned Amazing Grace and I thought that seemed fine. I've always loved that song. I had never played it but that didn't seem like much of a problem. Then she dropped the bomb. She wondered what I thought about doing Sentimental Journey, too.
While I fumbled and cleared my throat, she told me that it had been her mother's favorite song. Well, it has always been one of my favorites, too, but I surely didn't want to ruin a funeral. I couldn't find the words to turn her down so I asked for a little time to see how it might work out.
As soon as I began to bumble through all those minor sevenths it quickly began to sound just like any Ronny Elliott song. I did the two songs at her beautiful church service with her dog at my feet and it was a wonderful, moving experience for me.
Nobody has to tell me that I'm no singer. My rudimentary grasp of guitar is not news to me, either. I've said it before. I don't make good records. I don't make bad records. I make Ronny Elliott records. Sure makes life easy.
Now, I'm taking a lesson from myself. I've always spent a lot of time wringing my hands about not being the person that I should be. Not being kind enough, patient enough. Not forgiving more quickly.
Suddenly I'm giving myself a little breathing room. I figure that as long as someone is more loving than I am that I have a lot of work to do.
Now that I have figured out that I'm never gonna be another Mother Teresa, just like I was never going to be another Little Richard, I'm free.
I'm lucky to have had so much love in my life. My teachers have been the best. This is the best I can do. I'll get better.