i never knew how much dang work it is to be a traveling musician.
it is the same as being a logger, or a long distance runner, or a... well, you all know what it's like to work hard. so, even if i/we play a show every night, thats only working for like 3 hours a day, tops, right? except that there is then making connections with folks 200 miles from here, so that there will be shows to play next week. (oh facebook, what can i say of you?) and then, rehearsing all the songs so i will know the words when i am singing them for others. how embarassing to forget the words to your own song! and then, the indispensible thing - the REMEMBERING that this music is not just music, but is about the perfect Lord, the Almighty, and we are specifically directed to never ever speak about him without being totally sincere (Thou shalt not take the Lord's name in vain). and from that i begin to realize the amazing opportunity it is to sing about the Holy One, with and for others, in all sincerity.
it is one thing to stand in front of folks and play the songs and get the notes and words right, but oh, it is something entirely different to entertain the angel of NOW, the holy spirit, in a performance and mean every word, every note, and know that the room has felt it.
i had a conversation with a couple who put me up a few days ago in bellingham washington, after a show. we talked about spiritual progress and a phrase which stuck with me was "self immolation". now, that has often sounded like an uncomfortable thing, but, i am learning, that it is what happens in good performing. and it is not uncomfortable at all. in fact, it is wonderful. it is what the performer is forced to do as the voice grows. there is no way to sing the songs, again and again, day after day, filled with life and love, unless it is the actual Voice doing the singing. so, the more and more i play, the more i feel this blessed immolation happening. i gladly submit to it, and find that endurance, joy, soul, inspiration are right there with me. not coming from me, but coming TO me, from the great, ever-presence. and we ALL share in the affluence of that Voice.
there is ALWAYS something to be doing, but oh, it is the most fun work in the world. we are taking the steps that need to be taken, and the path appears right there beneath our feet, the moment before we take the step.
God bless you all, and may you find this same self immolation clearing your path!
Below is a short video i took recently from a Ferry to Bainbridge Island, off Seattle. You will see the great light of the Lord shining on the gray waters of Puget Sound.