No two shows are quite the same. We are in year 5, as a touring band, and this continues to ring true.
On this particular April afternoon, we are feeling a little out of sorts. Things are not going according to plan and, through a series of miscommunications and changing schedules, we find ourselves in the middle of a Jr. High cafeteria playing an acoustic set for a significant amount of students who would really rather not listen to our music, while they eat their lunch. In fact, they would actually rather listen to their own choice of music, on their phone speakers, while we play. With a quick and gracious reflection that we were cool once in Jr. High, we do our thing. The lunch hour comes to an end, the students goes back to class and we begin cleaning up our gear. That’s when I see her walking towards me.
I know the face…I know I’ve met her before…but I cannot remember her name (this is a moment of band transparency). After a friendly greeting and a few intentional questions, I figure it out. For the sake of privacy, I will call her Beth. After some friendly chatter I find out that Beth is coming to the show tonight and that this will be her 4th time seeing The Color in concert. This girl is really pumped and, to be candid, it’s cool to see that.
We head back to the venue and James and I, who are typically the ones who deal with the details behind the scenes, continue to sort through some of the miscommunication and frustration. It’s during this conversation that we remind ourselves that we are at this venue for a reason. To give a bit of context, this venue is a youth centre in a rough community, with a lot of difficult history and baggage. We unassumingly connected in our first year on the road, loved heart of the leadership, connected well with the youth that come through these doors, and we have made it a priority to reconnect whenever we can to be a positive presence for these youth. Today, we forgot that. It’s the reminder we need.
We sound check, eat some delicious sweet and sour chicken and rice, I have a ‘sink shower’ with the new shampoo I bought earlier in the day, we have band devotions, do a fan meet and greet, and then it’s showtime.
The energy is electric. We know these kids, they know us, they know our songs and we are having a blast together. We sing, I miss a song cue, we laugh, we share testimony, we pray, we worship and we end the night by sharing the Gospel message. In this moment, all tension and frustration from earlier in the day are a distant memory.
Following the show, we take pictures, sign merch, hang-out and eventually transition into clean-up mode. That’s when I see her walking towards me.
Beth is still as excited as she was before, this time for having seen us 4 times and looking forward to the 5th. But there is something different. I see it in her eyes. She has an edge of nervousness and it does not take much discernment, on my part, to recognize that she has something to say.
“Jordan, can you pray for me?”, Beth asks.
The answer is always yes.
Beth goes on to share that she has been struggling at home with her brother. She tells me about her dad; that he was very abusive and that she and her brother were both physically and verbally abused by him throughout her childhood. Her dad is no longer living at home, but her brother is beginning to show this same abusive nature towards Beth and her mom. With tears in her eyes, she tells me that she doesn’t know what to do but she just wants it to stop. My heart breaks.
I have few words, but I pray. And as I pray and plead to Jesus for healing in Beth’s home, I am drawn to her arms. To the hundreds of little razor blade scars that cover the canvas that is her skin. Scars that tell a story. Scars that represent the horror of abuse, and the hurt and pain that is so present in Beth’s life. My heart breaks. For this girl, who has been deeply wounded by circumstances she had no control over. Circumstances that will forever impact her life. How she loves; how she fears; whom she trusts; how she views her Heavenly Father.
My heart breaks because, even though no two shows are the same, this story is consistent. The circumstances and situation may be different but this story of pain, hurt and brokenness is happening in every community we step foot in. It’s happening within our own community; within our own families. People are hurting.
The last thing Beth shares with me is that she really appreciates our music and when she is feeling down, she’s goes into her room and listens to our songs on repeat. She says they make her feel better and she appreciates the lyrics, which remind her that God is here with her, even when things are really hard.
Beth and I say goodbye and, as I walk back to the bus, those last words stick with me. Once in the bus I share this story with the The Color team and we reflect on the conversation James and I had earlier in the day about our reason for being here tonight. To be a positive presence. From a Biblical perspective; to bring hope that can only be found in Jesus. Hope that goes beyond the circumstances of this world. An eternal hope.
Romans 10:13-14 (NIV) reads ‘for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?’
We believe that this is our call as believers. To share the good news of the Gospel. To make sure people hear the truth about Jesus.
Tonight, Beth has reminded us of the why. She has reminded us that God can use us in a Jr. High cafeteria, even when we feel like no one is watching. That he can use our efforts to make small talk and remember names (we really do try) to build a relationship of trust, to the point where someone will open up about their deepest hurts and pains. That He can use a song to bring His peace and comfort in the midst of that painful suffering. That He moves in our willingness to be present.
I hope you will find this both challenging and encouraging. The best part? You don’t need to be in a band for God to move through you.