Lou’s Words… March 11, 2012

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They squeezed us onto the show.

Favors were called in, shuffling of schedule ensued, and the good folks at the Grand Ole’ Opry decided to allow our little up-and-coming group to appear on the show to sing one song. We had just finished recording our new album at the House of Cash (Johnny Cash‘s studio) and our fledgling record company, which had taken a chance on us, making us their first release, was able to wheedle and deedle a slot for us to present one of our tunes on this national platform.

Of course, we were excited beyond words. We rehearsed with a band, since the Opry demands that all music be live, and we prepared for the show. One of the steps of our preparation was to contact a female agent in Nashville, Tennessee, who had expressed some interest in our group and was considering becoming our agent. Her name was Lou. What a tremendous chance this was for us.When we invited her to hear us at the Opry, she said she had already planned to be there and was looking forward to seeing how well we handled the pressure.

The day arrived. I could barely breathe, I was so excited. We rehearsed one more time with our band, picked out the wardrobe we would wear on the show and arrived backstage at the Grand Ole’ Opry, peering like a bunch of tourists at all the country music stars. I met Lou, she gave us encouraging words, and before we knew it, we were being announced to the audience.

As I walked onto the stage, I looked back and saw Lou perched right behind the curtain, ready to take in every single moment. I was thrilled. As soon as we arrived at our microphones, the leader of our band counted off the song and our musicians began to play. But they were apparently equally as nervous as us, and started the song much too fast–what one might call a “Keystone Cop tempo.” Matter of fact, it was so speedy that I wasn’t exactly sure where to leap in. But not wanting to be embarrassed in front of an audience from all over the country, I closed my eyes and took the jump by faith, and by the grace of God must have caught the right note, as my other two cohorts grabbed at my coattails and followed. After that, everything became easier. Matter of fact, as we played the song, other musicians standing backstage waiting to perform came onto the set and joined in–so by the end, the number of back-up musicians had nearly tripled.

It was a great performance. The audience was responsive, pitch was correct and our original song was received with immense enthusiasm. I walked off stage floating on air, which, for a guy my size, demands a lot of emotional helium. There was Lou, beaming at us. She gave us hugs and we escaped back to a side room, where she wanted to talk with us.

I even brought along a special pen, prepared to sign a contract to make this woman our agent–so she could launch us into fame. We got back into a private area, closed the door, and Lou said the magic words. “I want to sign you. You guys are great.”

I think all three of us squealed (of course, mine being the more masculine of the trio). Lou continued, “Now, what I want you to do is give me all the leads for your upcoming dates and all the people you have met as you’ve traveled across the country.”

I was perplexed. You see, I thought Lou was going to come along and place us in situations already organized, so we could simply come in and become famous. She shook her head and explained the system to us. Gently and tenderly, she informed us that an agent merely puts a magnifying glass on the beauty and power of what was already there. Well, since we were just starting, we didn’t know very many people and even fewer knew us. She told us to think it over and get back to her. I’ll never forget her closing words.

“I can take your talent and who you know and get you more for it, but I can’t get you more talent or make you known.”

We never signed with Lou. We were too young, inexperienced, raw and without reputation to give her much to work with. But I never forgot her words–because sometimes I get around people who kneel in prayer, expecting God to become their agent for success, prosperity and a life free of difficulty. When they realize that God has heard their prayer, they are suddenly elated at the potential of being freed of all responsibility. And then they hear the words–really, the same ones that Lou spoke that night backstage at the Grand Ole Opry. Because God says to all of us, “I can take your talent and who you know and get you more for it. But I can’t give you more talent and make you known.”

Any spiritual experience that erodes to mere religion preaches an over-dependence on God’s intervention, rendering us weak and without resource. But true spirituality is when you realize that you have talent that needs multiplying, and that there is a world of people out there to meet–if you’re not afraid of them.That in itself, with the mercy and caring of God, is enough to propel you to sufficiency and beyond.

Lou’s words are no different from God’s. Use the talent you have and don’t be afraid of people, and miraculously, it would seem … doors will open.

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Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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