This is just an odd post of some thoughts I was having the other day…
When I was in Junior High & High School God placed me in a youth group that would prove to shape my life for where I am today. Rick Countryman was my youth pastor and he and his staff invested deeply in my life (Big Valley Grace in Modesto, Ca). I had rides to youth group, events, leadership groups – I was loved and challenged, and taught true life skills for my spiritual walk.
Every Summer I had the privilege going to Hume Lake Christian Camp. It was in 8th grade that I made my own decision to give my life to Christ – I’ll never forget that night when I literally let go and turned my life over to God. It’s been an incredible journey since then, lot’s of ups and downs, failures & successes – but God has always been there and continues to give me more than I ever deserved.
When I was in 9th grade, a lot of my friends were juniors & seniors and there’s a memory that is so clear I can see it today. The way camp goes is that you can get up early for an optional morning devotion (which I did), then go to breakfast, then go back & clean your cabin. Then there’s usually a morning session followed by lunch.
This particular morning I went to devotions & breakfast, and back to the cabin. But rather than going to the morning session, I stayed back (which of course is against the ‘rules’). What I did changed my life though, in a really interesting way. I remember my friend, Brent Velthoen (sp?), had brought his CD player & collection, which was also against the rules back in those days. Well, I actually ‘borrowed’ his stuff and hid in the closet & listened to his collection for the next few hours. I remember it so well, the collection of music…
- Pink Floyd – The Wall (Double CD, yes! And #87 on Rolling Stone’s top 500 albums of all time)
- Rush – Permanent Waves, Moving Pictures
- Led Zeppelin – Zoso or IV (whatever you like to call it)
I clearly remember something happening to me that day (and no for all you ‘rock & roll is the devil people’, I didn’t become possessed). My mind and ears were opened to sounds and feelings that I rang so true in me. Rhythms and melodies, sounds, effects, stories, ideas, all wrapped up in this art called music. Thus began an infatuation with David Gilmore, Neil Pert, John Bonham, Nick Mason, and many others…
A new chapter in my life was opened, and I really think I God used that music to shape who I’ve become today. Little did I know that the piano lessons my mom made me take would actually bear fruit. I had no idea that in less than a year I’d have a full set of drums. I had no clue that in 3 years I’d pick up a guitar and begin leading worship.
I’m no professional musician or anything, but I can hear & see things – I visualize how things should look & sound – its one of my gifts. It’s a little weird I know. But I listen to the songs from those albums and I am reminded of that day, and those days when I was just beginning to digest who God was, what the Bible was, what music was, what life was – you know those teenage formation years.
And when I look back on it today, it makes me want to loosen up, to open myself up again and experience things for the first time again – because I believe that’s something we miss. We tend to experience something in life, enjoy it, and then close that chapter and move on. What happens is we totally forget what it was like to first hear something new, to first learn something new – we’re driven to ‘figure things out’.
I know, all this from a rebellious teenage summer camp day. But what a day it was! (and by the way, if you’ve never listened to those albums, especially through headphones, do yourself a favor and do that).
So what is one of your clearest memories?