Joan Jett, Kenny Rogers, Tom Petty, Sheryl Crow, Matchbox 20, Michael Jackson, Natalie Merchant and Prince. The list goes on.
From the cheap seats I could afford, I stood, screamed and pushed my way to the stage when I could find a way. Determined to be as close to the front as possible, in the fly zone of musician sweat, I had to be.
In the 90’s at a Natalie Merchant concert, I actually maneuvered my way backstage through a half-open door and made it to the side of the curtain like the crazed fan I was at 23-years-old or so. There she was, standing, singing, just in front of me. I could see her whole back so clearly as she performed. Until a giant intruding hand grabbed my right shoulder from behind, “What are you doing here?”
Long after the crowd departed, I stayed, demonstrating my perseverance while I stalked the darkened exit door and closely parked tour bus. I was simply not leaving until she came out and signed my Natalie Merchant Tiger Lily guitar book. At times, I’ve held onto love just as tightly.
After Natalie boarded the bus, I could see through the tinted windows as her beautiful, graceful shadow moved towards the back. Eventually, she turned, and walked back down the row towards the front, opened the bus door and took my book to sign with a black magic marker.
I still have it.
Yesterday, two minutes late with a small child in tow, I walked into our sometimes concert-like worship service, equally determined to lay low in one of the seats in the back. I have been a back seat, back row kind of girl for a lot of my life, hardly ever rushing the altar with the same zeal as my former concert days.
But, a family of four, needed that row and a volunteer seat-finder found us two in the front. I started to sweat like a…
That was only for a minute.
The worship band played and sang and led us in songs that always seem to move my heart to a calmer, more grace-giving place. I wondered why I’m always so determined to stand at the back.
Pastor Jason called me out, commenting on my fancy fedora, the one I usually wear when I haven’t washed my hair and Saydee Grace asked, “Why is he talking to you?”
I thought immediately of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well, how crazy he was to talk to her and how maniacally she ran back to town to tell everyone to come and meet the man who told her everything she’d ever done.
I’ve done just that thing.
The man spoke to her with sincerity, truth, and love. He spoke in such a way that the words penetrated her heart and re-connected her conscience with the girl she knew she once was.
There comes a time when we have simply had all we can stand. That is when we have to push our way to the front.
There comes a time when we need to hear the heartstrings of a father’s love. We need to wake up and walk boldly into our day a little more different than we did yesterday. Something has got to go. Something has got to give.
The thing I love most about my God is that I sometimes see him on stage, taking the solo, my front row rocker, I follow his lead.
I am forgiven. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
So I can sing along with Joan and her jet black hair as she sings, Now I don’t give a *&^% about my bad reputation… Some call it crazy.
I call it Grace.