Monday, January 28, 2008

Some Memories

A couple of weeks ago, I was in Ruston, Louisiana to play a memorial concert at the First Baptist Church. I went to college in this beautiful small town in North Louisiana and while there is a lot of evidence of growth since the late seventies, it still has a grace and charm that comes from its gentle hillsides and its warm and loving people.

The audience that night was dotted with people from my past. I rarely get choked up singing a song, but more than once on this evening, I had a hard time getting the words out.

The event itself was meant to make people aware of a scholarship that was set up in the name of Amy Meyers. Amy died in a car accident in October of 2006 on a trip between Houston and Ruston. So, there was some air of bittersweet memory for those that knew her anyway.

Amy’s family, her father and mother, her sister with her husband and a row of close friends that came up from Houston, sat together and watched and listened.

It must be surreal for parents to have to say goodbye to a child. Children are supposed to outlive their parents. It just seems to be the natural progression of us mortals. But here, and in so many cases every single day, the tables get turned and the normal agenda of life gets reassigned.

Along with the realization of the loss this group of family and friends has sustained, my emotions got the best of me several times because I was face to face with so many that have played such a big role in my life. They probably don’t even know it. Time and distance and silence and neglect have all become obstructions along the path of good intentions to stay in touch or to simply express gratitude for their help along the way.

As I stood on the stage and looked out, I saw the professor that talked me into staying in school when all I wanted to do was go to California and join an established band. Doc and Dottie have been great friends for a long, long time. Many years passed without much communication between us. A few years ago, Doc was diagnosed with stomach cancer and spent a good bit of time in Houston. I was able to see them then and catch up. When we spent time together, it’s as if no time has passed.

My voice teacher and his wife were there. He had another student come through his office after me that has gone on to achieve a lot in the country field – Trace Atkins is a household name in country music. They came back stage before the concert to say hello. He told me how thankful he was of the work I’ve done over the years. Knowing that the kind of singing I do now is not the way he taught me to sing then …. Well, it was nice of him to say. I know he meant it.

My mom was there. She’s struggled lately and didn’t decide until that morning whether she could make the 90 minute trip or not. . For mom to consider not coming to one of my concerts, well, I knew she was really not feeling well. She did come with my brother and two of his children.

Afterwards, mom was surrounded by people wanting to say hello – wanting to reconnect. She liked that.

My Uncle Royce (my dad’s only living brother) and Aunt Vera were there. I can’t remember the last time I saw them.

Dicky and Kim were there. He’s the pastor of another church in Ruston. We go way back. He’s a guitar player / motorcycle rider like me. We’ve not stayed in touch lately and I felt the distance of that relationship as I looked out from the stage that night.

I could go on but won’t.

I’ve never felt more loved. I know I’ve been loved. Much. But after the last few years, my senses are keener to God’s presence, His favor, His Grace and mercy – His Love.

How time flies.

Yesterday morning at 8:40, I got a call from my daughter-in-law, Laura. She told me that Adam would be leading worship at their church in northwest Houston where he’s been on staff for a few years.

His boss has been on a sabbatical for 6 months caring for his wife so Adam has, pretty much, been in the driver’s seat for much of that time. Sunday would be the last time before things returned to what used to be “normal”.

I sat there and watched my youngest son – his guitar strapped on going in the wrong direction, and I smiled at the memories. When Adam first got interested in playing the guitar, I, of course tried to put one of mine in his hands. The right-handed position just didn’t feel right to him even though we tried and tried to make it work.

Eventually, we both realized he was going to have to play lefty. Shopping for a left handed guitar wasn’t as crazy as we thought it was going to be. Here in Houston, there is a shop called “Southpaw Guitars”.

When you first walk into this funky little shop in the Bellaire area of Houston, it feels like you’re looking into a mirror. All the guitars are backwards! There had to be a couple of hundred “southpaw” guitars – everything from Martin acoustics to Fender Stratocasters to Gibson Les Pauls. All turned the other way! Adam was drooling.

We finally settled on a guitar, Adam pulled out his savings, then we went home.

Seeing Adam playing on the big stage at his church yesterday was a beautiful thing for me. I remember teaching him his first chord.

He sings like me. People have always said that and now I see it. He leaves nothing for later. He leaves all he has on the platform right now. He closes his eyes and lets ‘em have it.

His heart is on fire for the Lord. I’m overwhelmed at what God is doing with him. And so very thankful for God’s faithfulness to all generations.


Anonymous said...

You sound very satisfied and happy with your life now. I am so happy for you. God is good, isn't He.

Elizabeth said...

AS I read this post, I was reminded of your song "A Season in Your Path". You life has been touched and guided by so many people from your past, and it was, dare I say, a homecoming for you when you performed that concert. I am really glad that you didn't go off and join that band in California though. You might not have ended up where you are today. We might not have heard the music and songs that you play. So God knew exactly what he was doing with you back them. The people in your past inspired you and you have inspirired your son, and now you can see that as you reflect on memories. You can definitely say "God is GOOD!"

Amylisa said...

Oh, that is awesome. I am so happy for you.
You and all of your family are always in my prayers!

My oldest daughter Bethany has Superfluous' cd...I love the song "Placid," it's beautiful. You can definitely hear Adam's Dad in his voice! :-)

God bless you and thank you for sharing your life with your listeners.

Pastor M said...

Wayne, I am really glad that I stumbled unto your site this morning. Your music did much to help me in my early walk with the Lord.

I enjoyed your words about old friends. I just had some friends pop into my life after a 13 year absence. it was like we were never apart. God is so good. Life is so wonderful.

Anyway, thanks for sharing your heart with us all these years. I know it isn't easy sometimes.

God Bless, brother!

Pastor M