Back in junior high I met a lifelong friend in the clarinet section—Roberta.
We both took private lessons. We both went to music camp. We both practiced diligently. And yes, we did goof around now and then and drive our band teacher just a little nuts.
Every year Roberta and I auditioned for chairs within the clarinet section, and every year, all the way through high school, guess who won first chair? Roberta.
You probably expect me now to talk about how discouraged I became and how it affected our friendship. Sorry to disappoint, but I really enjoyed being second chair clarinet. Roberta handled solos better than I did and had more confidence than I did.
Our senior year, Roberta and I both also played in the high school orchestra. Our director decided that year to have Roberta play the bassoon, and I became first chair clarinet. Eek! I had to work and work on a solo for the state competition, and I had to talk myself into being confident enough to play said solo.
Truth be told, I preferred second chair. I didn’t like the spotlight—still don’t.
When my publisher told me I had to develop a presence on social media and talk about myself and my book, I struggled. Still do. Social media just doesn’t feel comfortable to a second-chair clarinet player.
But I have learned that I can use social media to draw attention to other people.
Nothing makes me happier than promoting a young or undiscovered writer. And I love posting a funny video or poignant article that I know one of my readers (you) will appreciate. I love giving a thumbs-up to friends and family members doing brave, fun, normal things.
Recently, as so often happens, I sat down to spend time reading my favorite book, and came across one short sentence in Romans 12:10 that speaks directly to this idea. I particularly like the way the verse reads in The Message: “Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.”
Don’t you think that verse could also be paraphrased this way: “Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second clarinet?”
That semi-colon tells me that the the two parts of this sentence carry equal weight. Good friends who love deeply also play second fiddle (clarinet). Hmm . . .
I wonder what would happen in our friendships, and on social media, if we adopted the “second clarinet” mentality. What do you think?