I love being on the road. I love to have my thoughts, my most precious resource, with me in these new places. My home for tonight is in the Asher House (a home for Christian Science students) at UCLA, and for now, all is quiet. I have a sweet little garden out my window, and the dry, airy light of autumn in Southern California is resting on the tops of the trees.
Last night was another performance coupled with a spiritual talk given by CS lecturer Tim Myers. It was an event for teens and there were about 12 of them there. It was intimate, in a private home, our bellies filled up with pizza and salad. Actually, mostly just pizza.
The scene: the kids splayed out across a few couches, not knowing what they were about to hear. Me, opening the evening with songs, staring into 12 blank faces. As adults, often when we talk with teenagers we ply them with questions about themselves - What are you into? What kind of music to you like? And often the teens respond uncomfortably, hesitatingly, inaudibly. And all day I have been praying, thinking of these folks who I don't know yet, longing to sing in such a way that their hearts will be touched, and that I may be able to give a bit of a gift of spiritual vision. How can we meet one another?
As I began it did seem no one was listening. The kids were sinking deep into the couches, casting glances to one another -so very different from an audience of adults who are there entirely by choice, who are really seeking to get something from a performance. But here is the interesting part: about 3 songs in, mid-song, with words flying out of my mouth, I was thinking to myself, "What is the right way to proceed with this? How can I connect with them?" And the answer I felt, right in the moment was an interesting one. It said in my heart, "Don't try to be popular with them. Don't think of them as kids who you have to reach. Just rest in the fact that they are alive, just like you, and have soul and guts and can hear the reality of the music you are singing. Basically, it was saying, "Give them a powerful performance and don't pander to them".
So thats what happened. I closed my eyes and sang with sensitivity and conviction. I opened them and reached out to my audience with love, strengthened by the fact that they are not "young people", but just people.
Over the couple of hours that we all spent together there was a fascinating and palpable warming that went on. Conversations bloomed, stories were related, jokes and laughter. And now, the next day, I think with a full heart of the thoughts, our most precious resource, that have been shared, and are moving, new, in all of us.
It is wonderful to have the opportunity to explore lots of ways to share visions of the Spirit with others. To experiment, succeed, fail, change things around for next time.
And next time is in a few hours when I will be performing for a broader audience, here at UCLA.
Tomorrow, on to Seattle! You can see the first show I will be playing there. It will be streaming live at 8pm-10pm PST, 11pm-1am EST on Saturday, October 9th. Check it out here: