Speak for yourself

What keeps me going today: Daydreams of a better life
What moves my feet today: A progression I wrote in my head while walking down the sidewalk
I could do without: Desensitization of emotions

The crowd was attentive yet pre-occupied. The drone of the lower strings seemed to line up with the heartbeat of everyone near. The melodic lines seemed to control the eye movement and eye brow lifting of the crowd. The room felt responsive while they sipped on their café con leche and dipped their carmel-raspberry biscotti, a special for the evening, all while keeping their pinky fingers high to the sky. The chords came through the speakers.

The sounds of pain and anguish, love and happiness and sorrow were emitted into the near mid-night air all with a hint of barley and hops behind them. The only smoke was coming from the fireplace that was a see-through number that lead into the lobby. The walls ebbed and flowed with the complicated rhythms being demanded from the migration of steel and wood and plastic. The walls were made of rock, the ceiling was a drop ceiling over the performer’s stage, but the floor was tile. Checked tile of an amaretto color mixed with charcoal. The room was intoxicating. Sweat mixed with tears in the beard of the grimaced face of the singer-songwriter. His blue eyes shining bright due to the fresh shipment of tears being delivered over the Fmaj9 (add13) chord. The lights reflecting, seemingly, shining straight from his bald scalp. Shadows cast on his eyes from the sorrows and the overhead lights. He is free…the emotions are not. Three hours of therapy in full view of those more fortunate than he. Dealing with the past. Hoping for the future. Caught up in the moment. Emotions rise to meet flesh where it seems to rip through the thin dermis and leave gapping wounds. The last chord is strummed. Some people sneer at the nonsense that was sung. Some question the warmth of their homes or if they left the iron in the on position. Some wait for their beverage to help them stay awake to tackle another hour and a half.

It’s only 2 a.m. The bars around town are ringing their “last call” bells. The streets are filled with emotion-supressed drunks.

Regardless, the life that was on display has come, set up, held heart wide open, nodded at tippers, and is packing his gear. What is he thinking…

In one breath he critcizes his displayed life and how he was not true to
himself. Then with the next breath he is thinking about the next
stop… 80 miles north and a right off exit number 4. The 4 blocks
down to the ConstellationCowboy. (Don’t
forget to park in the back lot.) Unload the gear, set up, sound-check, and
start the next emotional display @ 4 a.m. He recalls the manager
saying, “You won’t make good money playing that early. All you’ll be
playing to is a bunch of drunks coming off their buzz and coming into their
hangover. They come here for coffee, not some crappy guitar
player.” He thinks to himself…”it is no matter. I’m not here for
them. I am working out my salvation. Learning to forgive.
Making peace with the death I’ve witnessed. Gathering my emotions like oil
and water.” No rest for the weary. No life for the emotionally slain.

He leaves pieces of his heart splattered on the wall…trying to make peace with his inner discord. He does not pack up his emotions. He learned that packing his heart creates a smoldering and eventual charcoal filled creative void. Finally all the amplification and musical equipment has been safely and strategically crammed into the back of the van. Just enough money to cover gas for the “rock star” van and a pack of Ramen noodles. The pay-off? One less sleepless night. One less depression pill to take. One more song for the notebook.

Thoughts on tonight. I think it will be great. I think the music will speak for itself.

Author: ProdigalMike

Follower of Jesus Christ. Husband of one woman. Father of four. Worshipper. God has been continually molding me into a worship leader over the last 21 years. I am on a musical journey with my family to become more like Christ. Join in!

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