We took our kids to see U2 at Busch Stadium in 2011. It was their first rock concert and we felt all kinds of IT for making sure their first concert as a killer one, never mind the fact that Millie, who was still 7 at that time, spent the majority of the evening with her hands over her ears and eventually fell asleep. None of that matters, though, because, darn it, we took her to see Bono for her first concert.
Compare this with my own first concert experience. Farrell and Farrell. People in a Box, anyone? Matching hot pink jumpsuits? We were cutting edge for mid-80’s Southern Baptists in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Not to be outdone, I also saw The Imperials, Sandy Patti, and The Bill Gaither Trio before transitioning over to some of the heavier stuff like Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant.
Oh, Amy Grant and your leopard print jacket on the Unguarded album…you got me. You sang from my heart. And I sang it back into a hairbrush and recorded it on my boom box while pretending to be a DJ for KXOJ (K-eXcited Over Jesus) on 100.9 FM in Tulsa.
And life was good…until I made a move in an unfortunate direction and burned all of my Amy Grant and Smitty tapes and records in the same barrel that took my Rainbow Bright doll and my entire collection of Pegasus figurines. Thank you, Bill Gothard.
But then I made a move back toward reasonableness and repurchased my music collection, this time on CD. And Amy sang my heart once more, and I would sing along with her while driving around in my 1990 Grand Prix with my spiral-permed hair and my Baptist-hipster floral jumpers.
And then… she got divorced and Christians all over walked away from Amy Grant. And I did too…for a season. I think my discouragement was equal parts trying to reconcile my strongly-held views on sacred Christian marriage (a full three years into my own at the time) with what seemed to me a public failure of someone I had looked up to for so long. Suddenly, what I thought to be a given for the life of committed Christians no longer was.
But I’m sorry I walked away for a while. Here’s the thing: I’ve never met Amy Grant. I’ve never had a personal conversation with her to ask her about her life. I do know she continues to write songs that speak into the center of my soul and I can listen to them, believing she has really wrestled with the hard stuff of life and come out on the other side with her faith still intact. This gives me a hope that I can’t find on Christian radio today.
And that hope continues to compel me to sing along with Amy and the new album of killer dance mixes of her songs while driving along 235 in my hipster mom-Honda and my gray cardigan sweater, processing the hard of life in the midst of the everyday everything else.