It’s been an amazing year already. I still am walking about 4 inches off the ground at all times. So what’s been going on? I’m just home from an amazing trip up to Minnesota. I saw Coleen and Tim get married (Awesome). I saw the Twins lose (Not so awesome) – but it was still one of their last games in the Homerdome (Can’t wait for the new open air stadium next year – anyone know anybody that can help me get on the National Anthem docket sometime?).
Had an amazing concert experience at Rochester Covenant Church – the people were so overwhelmingly loving (special thanks to Pat & Ray!). Also had a very special time at the Bleeker’s house doing an extremely intimate concert in their living room for a great group of people. My singing was fueled by some unbelievable ribs and fixins eaten on the back patio on a terrific MN summer evening.
Honestly, this trip was a major turning point for me. I’ll try to explain it.
The concerts, in particular, were very life-giving and encouraging. But in a different way. Not like, “Oh Mark, you’re so good.” It was deeper for me. It was like God was involved so intrinsically in the whole thing. Like when you cook a really great meal and share it with a friend. It’s not about your cooking skills, or even the individual pieces of food on the plate. It’s about time shared together with a friend, enjoying each other’s journeys and thanking God for all the blessings of life. Doing these concerts was like a great meal. It was less about me than I ever had dreamed it would be. I guess I always looked at being on stage as something that would complete me-something that would define me, and hopefully fill-up that big hole I think is in my life.
Call it the gift of age, or a gift of grace, I dunno. But I felt like I was a part of something bigger than any of my efforts could have drummed up. Which doesn’t exactly make sense, since I wrote the songs, practiced them, blah, blah, blah… I can only say: God showed up. And He won. And I was thrilled to have it not be about me. And that is a beautiful surprise to this usually insecure artist.
So how did it happen? First off: I’m deeply loved. 1) By God, 2) By my amazing family, and 3) By a handful of friends — who are all determined to not let my performing define me. Then I worked hard to be able to sing my butt off, and more importantly, I tried to communicate honestly and effectively my personal faith journey. As an artist, my job is to express thoughts and feelings other people have, but haven’t yet been able to put words on. Through telling my story, other people are able to understand their own story better, and then hopefully be able to tell it to others.
If sharing my story of finding hope and being loved, even along this rocky road of life, allows others to know that Love as well, then my efforts are officially a success.