I arrived in San Francisco this past September exhausted. I had flown through the night from Alaska and my head was spinning from the culture shock of having spent the last few days in the back country of Alaska, only to arrive in a city where people ride bicycles naked.
Without doubt, 2012 had been the busiest year of my music career and this was the last gig before heading home. I just had to make it through this last set.
The church was in the heart of the city. Surrounded on all sides by vibrant color and a symphony of urban sounds. Rayna and I made our way to a gathering room in the basement. I set my guitar case on the the stage and turned around to take in the room. After a long exhale I realized I was pretty tired of myself. Tired of my guitar. Tired of my stories. Tired of the sound of my own voice. Just. . .tired.
I finished my sound check and went back to help Rayna set up the product table. Before I got there, a man stopped me. He had a scraggly beard and kind, intense eyes.
“Man, I am so excited about tonight! Music saved me. . .”
For the next 10 minutes, I stood and listened as my new friend wove a story of brokenness, of an addiction to meth, of losing his family, and finding himself alone. But, in music he had found a connection to God, a lifeline, something his heart could resonate with, a sword to keep the demons at bay, a way to find peace. After years of silence, his new faith had given him the courage to contact his sister and his mom. He was taking his first tenuous steps down the road that led home.
The room began to fill and soon half the crowd was made up of a group from a recovering addicts program. Loud, brash, and wonderful. Broken people make good friends.
Something happened that night. My songs were no longer songs, but stories of redemption, anthems of God’s intervention and grace. I wasn’t singing to these people, I was singing with these people. We’re all broken, some of us just hide it better.
At 8 pm on a Sunday night in September in the middle of San Francisco, God was weaving word, chords, and melody together in a language that is deep, old, and magical. Music.
And, in that moment, I felt God’s pleasure in the room.
This is why I do what I do. Thank you for believing in this ministry.