I can remember the night.
I had been the backup for my friend Billy as he sang a concert in the Dallas area, thanks to our friends David and Christy. I had flown in from Boston and Christy had been kind enough to give us a couple more days in the hotel to do some songwriting. Billy started playing around with a fun little melody that made us both want to bounce around the room and before long we were singing
rivers singing gladly as the trees clap hands
thunder keeping rhythm to the song and dance
wind across the waters like an angel band
here’s an invitation to the song and dance
put away your woes let ‘em go let ‘em go
they’re gonna be here tomorrow
tune your heart to the birds that fly
out on the edge of the deep blue sky
can you hear the music through the circumstance
listen to the laughter in the song and dance
Even out of both of our tendencies to see the darker shades of life far too easily, we had written a song of unadulterated joy, which is, I think, a harder song to write. I remember reading an interview after the record, Red Bird Blue Sky, came out in which Billy said, as he talked about the song, “Trouble is overrated.” Yes. And it’s ubiquitous.
My brother just returned from a trip to Israel. When I talked to him yesterday he said, “Man, I don’t see how anyone can fix that situation.” And it’s not the only one. My own particular view of the world runs from Darfur to depression, often fueled by my cynicism and despair (since gas prices are so high), and wishing desperately to find a view that offers something other than a view of a world intent on self-destruction.
Occasionally, I catch a glimpse of something – like that night when we sang and danced our way around the Hampton Inn and the few minutes it took to watch this video, sent to me by my friends Ann and Doug, who are among those who help paint a different picture of the world for me.
I don’t know who the hell Matt is, much less where the hell Matt is, but today I’m thankful for Matt, for dancing (he and I share similar styles), for friends, and for the melody of grace that permeates the circumstances of life.
Tonight, I can hear the laughter. And I’m listening as hard as I can.