I mumbled my way through my first, last and only opportunity to chat with the band that lived as the cement in the cracks of my faith. No line of people behind me, no one watching (except KLR) and the best I came up with was a brief “thanks for the many years, it’s been wonderful.” Generic. Hallmark could’ve done better at being authentic.
Over the course of 11 years they traveled many a mile via tour bus, which was now parked a stone’s throw from the little blue Ion that took us to nearly all our shows (Why did I never drive? I have no excuse. I didn’t realize it until now. But I did buy dinner to reciprocate). And Lo, as I realized that the buses so near were that of Crowder and his *band, who do you think steps afoot one row of cars away? Four very hairy, older guys, clearly the hip-artsy-hipster types by the wearing of their plaid and the dark rimmed glasses. And the hair. No one goes out with hair like that but the cool and the homeless.
I wish I’d have told Crowder how I could recite history based on my playlist. I wish he could know that KLR and I would text his lyrics as a means of encouraging and lifting one another up through difficult times as well as use it as code in our snarky relationship. Rescue is coming could be a promise that Jesus will make all things anew OR there was a bottle of wine being chilled. The space created by our own DC*B tour allowed KLR and I to make fun of everything that is wrong with the CCM movement and enjoy everything that is right.
Had I thought it through, I would’ve provided Crowder a verbal expose on our friendship’s history and how each song took me to a place and a memory that I treasure deeply. Of course those memories include difficult times but it was the hope that emerged that hangs on, not the pain.
I could’ve told him how I nearly cry when I praise him under open skies, everything breathing praise him God, because of how we did that with the sunroof and windows open, skittering around San Diego on a missions trip. AK was pretty fed up with the song by the time we left, but ABG holds it as one of those formational memories as we cruised over the Coronado bridge. We learned how to cross 5 lanes of California traffic together. That’s nothing short of relational glue.
Then I would’ve went on to tell him that the harder I try, the more clearly can I feel the depth of our fall and the weight of it all in a ministry setting. So, so, so, many times I had to come to realize that by trying I fail and that it’s simply not me that will make change, but the work done through me. Yes, yes, letting go gets a better grip.
And then he would resonate with my past (and who’s lying? present!) struggles, remarking that these give reason why the Lark exists. He knows. He’s been trying to make you sing, from inside where you believe, like it’s something that you need, like it means everything. And he’s been trying to make you feel that this is for real, that life is happening and it means everything. We’re trying to make you sing.
But sometimes you try to sing and the words barely fall out. Like during the month of October. So I’d thank him for reminding me that in sun and rain, in joy and pain, You’re still the same, oh you never let go. Because when I had a heart of hurt, those are the words I would utter.
Or how I’d pray on behalf of friends, like when MHK’s mom left, that when shadows fall on us, we will not fear, we will remember – when all seems lost, when we’re fallen and tossed, we remember the cross and rest in Him, the shadow of the cross.
And then again, feeling dry (this time not in the same house or town with KLR, so in a sense lonelier), I would drive to work crying while hearing Shine your light so that I can hear you, pull me up I need to be near you, hold me I need to be loved, can you overcome this heart that’s overcome? And then I’d remind myself to live that as well because there’s a whole world who needs it.
Should I go on and on? Would I have rattled off the list of his songs that have made my Funeral Playlist? Or tell how we brought together a bunch of teenagers for a retreat and made yarn beards and sang happy birthday to KLR a little less pretty and a lot more loud? Or that we read aloud parts of his devotional book, including the part about the urinal with they electronic eye and KLR and I had to act it out for effect?
I guess I could’ve rambled on and on to Crowder and his *friends about these things, but by now their tummies would be rumbling and it was slightly chilly and the homeless crowd that descended upon the Nice Christian Crowd outside Bogarts would begin to drift our way.
I probably should’ve just asked what I’ve been wondering since the Ohio State fair show: what does ministry look like for he and his band now that they’re too “old” for all this traveling and what-nots. Now that they’re no longer in the demographic of the group they’re ministering to, what does that look like? Because at the end of the night we realized that if DC*B hadn’t retired it we weren’t sure how many more of these shows we could stand for (where are the CHAIRS, Bogarts?). And the late nights! Oh, my it was nearly 1am when we arrived home. We’re just not in college anymore. Or even our 20s.
So through all these years, all these songs, all these memories, David & Boys’ final lesson: always be prepared. You never know when you’ll cross the paths with someone who had a deep and profound influence on your life and you’ll want to say more than “thanks for the ride. It’s been great.”