Well friends I'd like to declare it National Cupcakes, Sprinkles, and Other Happy Things week! I know it's been a while since you've heard from me and I'd like to attribute that to being half-dead. I think a lot of what we do in life is trial and error; figuring out our limits and our boundaries. This fall I figured out some of mine. 52 shows in 70 days is honestly more than I can handle. Living on a bus for two months is about one month too long. Wearing the same outfit for three days makes me feel homeless. And not going to church in over three months is bad for my soul.
The Light Meets the Dark Tour was an amazing group of talented, insightful, kind, funny, and passionate artists journeying across America to be about the work of reminding people that there IS light in the darkness. For the gift of being on that tour, with those people, I am truly grateful and humbled. For the gift of meeting so many amazing and unique Christ followers around the country at each show, I am truly grateful. For the gift of sharing a gift with so many others, I am grateful. For the invitation to be a part of people's lives, the brutally painful moments and the beautiful ones, I count myself profoundly blessed... and I am grateful.
But for living on a bus for two, almost three months, I say, "Good Riddance Bus! I hate your stinking guts! Your bunk bed has surely given me arthritis! Your bathroom floor with the urine stains of so many men has warped the bottoms of my feet! Your putrid man smell gives me the heebie-jeebies! Your ice-cold chambers with no windows made my soul feel trapped in a long, dark, blustery, Michigan winter. And your sink, which was smaller than the size of my butt, made it impossible for me to truly brush my teeth for the last two months!"
I anticipate the coming days when I can brush my teeth in a sink that hasn't been used by ten people before me. The days when I will not refer to a "good night's sleep" as a night that didn't have any sudden slamming on of the breaks that lurched me out of my bunk bed and onto the floor. Yes. A good nights sleep will have nothing to do with sleeping in a moving vehicle, with a rumbling engine under my belly, in a narrow hallway with twelve tightly packed bunk beds.
Unless you're five years old and you have a solar system of glow stars above your head; a small tent made out of sheets; and a bag of cookies hidden under your pillow... bunk beds and "a good nights sleep" don't belong in the same sentence.
I anticipate the days that I get my privacy back. The days where I do not shimmy out of my concert clothes and try, like a twisty yoga instructor, to get my pj's on in my 2 by 8 foot bunk bed without hitting my head or otherwise injuring my body. The days where I can poop in my own house. In my own bathroom. On my own toilet. There I said it. I gave away the secret that every artist wants to keep quiet. You can't do that on the bus people, it's just wrong!!! And it's wrong for days to come because remember, buses aren't plugged in to plumbing. It's basically like using a porta-potty. And people who go number two in a porta-potty should be personally responsible for cleaning the things... it's just wrong.
You get to the venue in the morning and the quest is on. Where can you poop in privacy? And let me tell you... I am quite happy to not be doing that anymore. Thank-you-very-much.
I anticipate the days ahead, yet I already miss my tour family and I find myself wondering... where do I fit in now? I feel like I need to hold a village meeting or send up smoke circles to let people know that I am home... and that I am lonely.
While living on a bus for two months is not ideal, there is something pretty rare and special about waking up to the same people everyday. Sharing a pot of coffee. Knowing that some friends like to be quiet in the morning while others, like my friend Kristen who was on the bus, greets you with a big smile and wants to know how you slept. There is something enchanting about sitting around in your PJ's at night with 12 other people discussing the news, theology, politics; eating some popcorn; sharing a bottle of wine; venting; and knowing that the person right next to you is in it with you. They get it. They get the calling. They understand the madness. They share the passion. And they hate the bathroom as much as I do.
I miss my bus mates.
So does Annie.
Last night as she was falling asleep in my arms her little synapses' started firing off words while her eyes bobbled around trying to fight off the sleep. "Mommy. Daddy. Buggers (thanks alot dad, that was a really classy word to teach her. I espcially like the part where she sticks her finger in her mouth after she says that and pretends to be eating buggers. Awesome). Puppies," and then, "Guitars (pronounced key-tars), Matt. Kemmy, Greggers, Josh (yosh), Travis, Lalalalalalalala (for Lauren, the nanny). Sorry Richard, she still can't say your name.
My heart melted. This little girl knows nothing but love. And she loves so many people. There she is falling asleep and her mind reminds her of "keytars" and Mr. Matt (as in Matt Maher) and her friend Kemmy the bass player who gives her kisses on her head. And she fell asleep.
I love that her little mind just lets her remember the good. Not so much the part where she slept in a moving vehicle for two months and ate Taco Bell on more than one occasion, and that her mommy was really tired, and then, by the end of it all, starting to get ugly around the edges. I like that she didn't go to bed spouting off all the things that burdened her over the past few months, like a few of the churches who seemed pretty self-indulgent and lost in their own wealth and pride, or the handful of promoters who fed us out of plastic buckets- food that no one in their right mind would want to eat- or the "fans" who would get angry when we cut the autograph line off after an hour and a half- or any of those other things that it's easy to get all bent-out-of-shape over. No- in her little 18 month-old-mind... all that matters at the end of the day are the people. And she fell asleep saying their names.
Matt. Kemmy. Mommy. Greggers. Yosh. Daddy. Puppies. LALALALALALALALA.
As I put her to bed last night, I thought, "God, let me fall asleep the same way. Not holding grudges against promoters or venues who maybe didn't treat us like they would their own family, or bemoaning the part where I lived on a bus for two months, or the little inconveniences that I sacrificed along the way. Let me remember the people. The faces. The names. The stories. Your children."
And I woke up this morning feeling alive again. Wanting to write again. Wanting to remember, wanting to record every story I can remember from this tour. Wanting to find myself in light. Wanting to be light. Wanting to say thank you to sooooo many of you who showed up- my faithful blog readers- my new found friends- my family and a home away from HOME- to so many of you who loved Ryan, Annie, and I along the way... I want to say thank you. By pouring into me and being my family, I was able to hopefully pour into so many. Because of so many of you- today I remember so many of them. The faces and people I met along the way. The stories. The prayers shared. The journey shared. I remember that today.
And like I said in the beginning... I am giving myself my own birthday present! I turn 30 on Wednesday and I thought, what better way to celebrate than to declare my own kind of week. National Cupcakes, Sprinkles, and Other Happy Things Week!
This week I invite you to join me in being happy. Letting go of the grudges, life's little inconveniences, and the temptation to short-change the world around you of grace. Instead I invite you, my friends, to indulge on the things that bring light and joy and happiness into the world.
And some other things that I will talk about tomorrow.
Until then, remember the people. That's what it's all about.