Saturday, September 7, 2013

In Concert

My friend Allison is 44 and I will be 32 tomorrow. We're not exactly teenagers. That didn't stop us from snarking around someone's campsite at the Utah State Fair, trying to get closer to the super lame trailer that held Amy Grant. (Epic fail, Utah. You made us all look like backwoods hicks.) It's no mystery that I love Amy with my entire, unashamed heart. I write about her often enough that there may as well be a label on this very blog just for her. In fact, I think I'm going to do that right now. I'm kind of surprised that it hasn't already happened. One moment.


The food vendors set up campsites in the parking lot behind the grand stand. There we found ourselves after the concert, traipsing through someone's site, attempting to get a glimpse. We didn't succeed. We did realize just how lacking security was on that side of the stage. A simple climb over a short fence with minimal pokey things on top, and we'd have been back there. Free to accost Amy Grant with hugs and high fives. Free to inform her of her disappointing security detail. Free to ask for autographs, take pictures on really old cell phones, and invite her out for coffee.

So, basically, free to be psychotic crazy women. Free to call my husband from the slammer and ask him to come bail us out on account of all the creepy stalker behavior. No one wants to be those women. Not even me.

Don't get me wrong. I definitely want to have coffee with Amy Grant. But I want her to think I'm cool and intelligent. I want us to have dialogue about Jesus over java and a scone. I want to ask her where she got her shirt and how, after birthing four babies and turning 52, she manages to stay so thin. I want to sing Thy Word with her because I can. Because it's low enough that I can effectively hit the notes, even with my Nothing But Alto--sometimes tenor--range. I don't want her to think I escaped from the local loony bin. That's simply not the kind of relationship I'm looking for.

This is the only picture I managed to get on my ridiculously old, partly Truckee River water damaged phone.

The photo doesn't show the worship session we had in the middle of the concert. It doesn't tell the funny story about the TSA agent who looked at her boarding pass and driver's license and, without looking up at her at all, said, "There used to be an old gospel singer named Amy Grant." As though she was already dead. It doesn't show the way she sang Don't Try So Hard and it spoke to me because, of late, I've been having some real Peniel moments with God over pursuing perfection. It doesn't even show that we were in the ninth row and our seats were awesome and they only cost $25.

Amy Grant has been making music since before I was born. So when I hear her sing live I remember the old VHS of one of her concerts that I watched when I was eight. She came on stage during the long intro to Sing Your Praise to the Lord wearing some skin tight ensemble and being all of about twentysomething. I recall sitting on a lifeguard tower with my friends when I was nine or ten, singing Galileo in the dark during a beach camping trip that also involved roller blades. I remember hearing El Shaddai and wondering what, on earth, language that was and what, the heck, she was saying. Never knowing that I would come to a point in my faith journey where God would became my El Shaddai, my El Elyon and my Adonai. And that those names would be precious to me. I remember the first time I saw her in concert, during my junior year of high school--on a date with my mom--at the Copley Symphony Hall in San Diego.

There was the time I sat listening to Oh How the Years Go By as a teenager and thinking that it had a deeper meaning than I could ever begin to understand at fifteen. Then I became a mom and I knew what I knew I didn't know back then.

This music has grown me. From a kid who believed that God had sent His Son to save me to an adult who's heart breaks for the people who don't know that truth. So I pay to go see her in concert because, in some minuscule way, I want to say, "Thank you." Thank you for making music that has moved me for the better part of my entire life. Thank you for being real and vulnerable. Thank you for not being a soprano. That's why I go.

Well, and also because, deep down inside, I just might be that crazy stalker woman.

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