I am awful at taking compliments. So awful that one time, when a monsignor complimented my playing, I said what I usually can, something along the lines of “Well, I do what I can,” and he said to me, “It’s OK to say thank you.”
I try to be modest about my music. I’m here to lead you in song, and this isn’t a concert, unless I’m putting on a concert, in which case it’s a concert. At one church I play at, they routinely applaud the music after Mass (no, they’re not really supposed to, though there’s currently no document that says they can’t), and I’ve never really been able to acknowledge that. It’s just not comfortable for me to do so.
But one weekend after Mass at my Sunday church, a woman came up to me.
“I really love your playing,” she said. “You just show this passion when you play. I can tell this means a lot to you.”
I’ve never heard a compliment like that in regards to my music. It was about me, but it wasn’t, because really, my job is to bring others closer to God through song. When she phrased it that way, it felt to me that she had that understanding in mind.
So I smiled.
“Thank you,” I said.