I'm driving through the rain on the six-hour trip back home from East Texas, much like I did two days earlier on my way out here. Only slower this time, because the rain's falling harder and it feels like I've spent at least half an hour, crawling behind a big RV on this winding, two-lane highway. Can't help but feeling a big post-gig slump, the adrenaline of sharing my music at last night's concert in Jacksonville and speaking at this morning's worship service in Tyler having worn off many miles ago.
As usual, it was a lot of fun singing and speaking both times, but it rained pretty hard all weekend, so attendance was low in both places. I know it shouldn't matter, but somehow it does. Time after time, the old doubts come creeping out of the farthest, darkest corner of my brain, telling me I'm not good enough, feeding my fears of failure, demanding to know why I persist in dragging my guitar out to make joyful noises in so many venues, year after year.
SINGING IN THE RAIN
Eager to drown out those negative thoughts for a while, I slip my "House of Yes" CD into the dashboard stereo, and start harmonizing along with the lyrics, not to any audience or for any reason, other than to remind myself of something bigger than my private, little Pity Party. And that it's my job to stay focused on writing, singing and living my purpose, not to worry about who is or isn't reading, watching or listening.
As if on cue, a large flock of geese comes flying into view, soaring southward in ever-shifting, staggered V-formations, far overhead. It's clearly just my imagination, but it sure sounds like they're honking in reply to my song, as they fly off into the distance. Could it be that their vocal sounds help them stay aligned and on course during their long journey? Or are they, too, simply singing out for the sheer joy of expressing themselves?
DANCING IN THE CAR
A few moments later, my iPhone flashes a text notice, and I pull over to check it out, because my dear friend, Jason, has just sent me a short video clip of his young son, Xavier, dressed up in a Batman costume, dancing up, down and all around in Jason's car, with my "House of Yes" song playing in their stereo. Talk about cute. He's got me grinning from ear to ear in five seconds flat!
I immediately call Jason, who explains that they had just gone to the Halloween store, and afterwards, Xavier had asked his dad to "play the Yes Song" - resulting in the brief video clip of him doing the Batman Boogie, displayed at the top of this page (which you should be able to play by clicking on the arrow. The quality of the image doesn't translate very well from the original iPhone footage, but you get the picture...) The boy didn't say a word, but his message seems clear: "Lighten up! Enjoy the ride." And so, I do.
REMINDED ONCE AGAIN
I'm telling you all this by way of reminding you, just as Xavier and the wild geese reminded me: that supportive guides and helpers can take many forms, and are seldom far away, if only we are open to seeing them. At least, that's the song I choose to sing -- and I'm sticking to it.