I have the clearest memory of being about ten years old, puttering around the darkroom with my Dad developing pictures and chattering away as a ten year old girl would. My Dad had a darkroom in our house and he was quite the photographer; I inherited his love for photography and would spend time with him developing the film and enlarging the pictures.
One of these sessions, I remember, telling him all about the radio station I had found and all the music and artists and the dj’s at the station.
I am sure I wore him out.
Just as I wore out those poor djs as I called every three hours as they changed their shifts and requested “Anything from Randy Matthews.” The station was one of the very first contemporary Christian stations in the country. All the djs were volunteers. A few years later when I finally joined the ranks of volunteers I was inundated with return phone calls for my favorite artist.
I actually had the chance to meet Randy Matthews a few years later. I was working at the station and he came to town for a concert. The station manager allowed me to be the runner for the day and I drove him around town and had the chance to spend the day with him. I was on cloud nine. He was extraordinarily kind to me, because even though it was several years beyond my juvenile infatuation…he was that first artist that had caught my attention.
I had a fantastic childhood, however, there were bumps and bruises and in the midst of it, I thought it was horrendous at times. I was dramatic and emotional and there was enough pain to drive me to the point of thinking of suicide. I was lonely, that was much of the problem. Music was my outlet. I didn’t fit in at school beyond being average, and the radio station was my haven. I escaped in music and it literally saved me. How many times have we heard that story? I know myself well enough now to know that I would have been a mess had I played with alcohol or drugs…I simply have no restraint.
Music was safe, and more than that…it was the means God used to stir my emotions and imagination and to speak to me.
Our musicians, our artists, our Creatives…they have such amazing roles in our lives. They speak life and they provide an outlet to those who are on the outskirts. They give a voice to our emotions when we are lost or when we are in pain, or when we are filled with joy and want to worship and shout and rejoice.
Sometimes our Creatives, they mark our brokenness in ways that bring us to our knees…and we need that as well.
My middle boy is much like I was as a child. He turns ten tomorrow, and this past week we have tried to catch the attention of a radio station in the hope of winning a “Meet and Greet” with Taylor Swift.
A local radio station had set up a scavenger hunt and we scurried around town, Nate with his hair dyed red and buddy in tow, snapping pictures.
Then we tweeted and instagrammed and talked to friends and tried our best to get the attention of those who held the power.
See, Nate is my middle boy. I’ve written about him before. He is my Creative and some day he will be giving words to those who can’t find a way to express their emotions. Right now…he is looking to others, and Taylor Swift has captured his imagination and his attention. Yes, it’s infatuation and glamor and stardom at the moment…just like it is for so many, but there is this hint of something more…this hint of an awareness of music and of the mark of the Creator.
I’ve tweeted. I’ve Instagrammed. I’ve emailed my friends and asked them to retweet my tweets.
I’ve ignored the fact that I wasn’t going to be on FaceBook.
I’m hoping maybe the noise I’m making might garner him a “Happy Birthday” shout out from Taylor Swift at the concert.
I’m hoping he doesn’t pee himself if she shouts out.
So, Taylor, I apologize if I utterly harass you on Twitter today.
Randy Matthews is probably breathing a sigh of relief that there was no Twitter thirty years ago.
It is amazing how a nod or a word…an acknowledgment…could hold so much power. Reading through the Twitter feed of some of the kids who are following Taylor reveals kids who are eager and hungry for some affirmation…and there is so much there for discussion.
We’re sitting in the back row of the arena. We’ll be surrounded by other kids who look at her and who scream and who are just as awestruck and who are just as captured by her music and the glamour…and there are some there who were like me who feel lonely and who feel a little lost and some who feel utterly lost.
And there is a weight on Taylor and on our other Creatives…they are bringing us music and light and an escape.
Sometimes they are just bringing noise. Sometimes the Creatives are just as lonely and lost as the rest of us, and they don’t even know they have they are walking billboards, Image Bearers of the Creator. Lord have mercy on the Miley’s and others.
Sometimes, though…they carry a screaming arena away from their worries and brokenness of the world for an evening and let them be caught up in music and delight.
Sometimes…they go beyond even that and help us to encounter the One who Created all. The One who made the color green….