On September 2nd 2012 I saw a tall black man w a priest collar at Aldi. When he passed me my spirit kind of jumped - like “notice this guy”. A few seconds later he came back and asked if I was a Christian. I said yes. He said “I thought so. I felt like I was supposed to come back and tell you, God’s about to do some great things with you.” I said “really?”. He said “Yes. Be very attentive. He’s about to do great things with you.” I thanked him and he walked away.

This was one of my lowest days. I was transitioning to full time musician status and feeling zero traction and like a failure. I knew God sent him to let me know I just needed to hang on, because I was going to impact millions of people eventually with my music.

I’ve thought about that interaction almost daily for over 2 years. Many times it’s all that’s kept me going.

Over the past several months, everything in our life has come to a halt. Our current season is winter. All is still. Dead or asleep. Silent. Frozen. Bare. It’s a season I never want, but am always grateful for it in retrospect. In winter, things that don’t run deep are allowed to die. In winter, there’s clarity where there used to be noise and priorities are a simple thing.

Without winter we’d suffocate under the thousands of layers of identity and unnecessary commitment and responsibility we heap upon ourselves during the rest of the year. We need winter to be clear on who we are and who we’re not. Who we are in summer, when we’re performing at full capacity, on stage with a loud PA and lights, that’s not necessarily us. Who we are in winter, when everything is quiet and there’s nothing to hide behind and our weakness is painfully obvious to everyone, that’s who we are.

Unfortunately, most people spend their lives avoiding winter at all costs. The highest cost is that they never get to know who they really are.

I will make music again (I have to keep chanting this to myself every time I look out the window at the badly neglected band van and trailer), but that’s not what the Aldi preacher was talking about when he said “great things”. “Great things” isn’t wowing people from the stage or a million iTunes downloads or meaningful letters about how my music has changed someone’s life forever. Those are only secondary results. “Great things” is finding rest in disaster, your kids seeing and feeling your strength and peace and trust in a situation where anyone else would have crumbled, and their core being strengthened forever, because the battle you’re fighting is also for them and for many future generations. “Great things” is when everything that should have created fear in you doesn’t - when it all falls apart and you’re still ok, and you realize for the first time that fear is the enemy, not circumstance, and now you’re free. “Great things” is when we fight our inner battles instead of retreating to our addictions, and in fighting our battles the community surrounding us is strengthened in their fight as well. “Great things” is when fear has to give up, because the worst happened and we are still here - still moving toward each other and toward God and still allowing ourselves to fully trust, fully feel, fully hurt, and fully live.

Saturday March 07, 2015