"Old Habits Die Hard" is an age-old adage that resonates with most of us as we face the challenges of our daily lives. In simple terms, it means that old habits are hard to break and generally brings a negative connotation to mind. Quite often, we believe that eliminating the habit would lead to a more constructive, even compassionate existence. However, my personal old habit is quite the opposite! My old habit has broadened my faith, created new friendships, challenged my musical abilities, and enriched my life beyond measure.

From childhood my avocation has been music, beginning with the piano. Growing up in a Christian family allowed me also to participate in church choirs, but during my teen years I was introduced to a new phenomenon that peaked my curiosity in the musical world—handbells. Playing bells was an activity that appealed to my love for music and gave me an opportunity to perform before an audience as well as answering a budding desire to serve God and my church.

As a young adult living in Columbia, then Atlanta, and later Spartanburg, I was fortunate to be a member of churches that supported handbell choirs. And as my personal and family demands changed through the years, my involvement fluctuated. However, "just like riding a bike," playing bells comes right back with greater value and renewed passion.

Now, as an older adult who finds herself with an empty nest, I continue to find spiritual fulfillment in handbells. The First Presbyterian Handbell Choir allows me to take an active part in the church while satisfying a purpose in my life that secular pursuits lack. For years I have considered it my "therapy" for the contribution bells have made to my health, happiness, and positive impact on life. It is my hope that my so-called old habit serves as a witness to my faith as well as enriching the worship service for others.

About the Contributor

Caroline Thomas has been a member of FPC for over 20 years. She is currently active in Handbell Choir and Genesis Choir and previously served as Deacon, Elder, Sunday School teacher, Arcadia VBS team, Mexico mission team, and on various committees. She is married to Jim Thomas and they have 2 grown sons, John and Stephen.