Traveler’s Tip #346
I’ve stood on a corner in Winslow Arizona but I didn’t see any girl or flatbed Ford. I saw a desert storm roll across the horizon. The sky above Winslow can hold a lot of thunder.
I’m out on a three-week tour with Ransom, my son. He's traveling with me and sharing the stage. I miss my wife and daughter terribly, but let me tell you, this will be a trip I’ll never forget. A real, over-the-top thrill. We’ve come a couple thousand miles so far, plenty of time to talk and think. You know what? My son’s a pretty cool guy. I’m also pretty sure he knows more chords than me.
Me and Frankie, laughing and drinking
Nothing feels better than blood on blood
Taking turns dancing with Maria
While the band plays Night of the Johnstown Flood
(Bruce Springsteen – Highway Patrolman)
Blood on blood. Family has been on my mind a lot this trip. I see the way people respond to my son and I when we’re on stage together and their joy makes me happy. It strikes me we humans were created for family. It’s molded into our DNA. We respond to it. We love it. We love to see strong, bonded relationships. We love family. We love LOVE.
The older I get the more I see family as a gift like no other. Husband and wife, parent and child, grand, great-grand, fill in the blank, we all want to belong. We want someone to have our back. That’s what a real family is. That’s what a real family does.
Family is under fire right now, at least in the western culture. We all know it. And I imagine mine is a poster-child for politically incorrect. My kids are adults now but they figured out the difference between girls and boys at around two years old and they can still tell. We're Christians. I don't feel bad about this. I feel blessed and loved.
I’m supposed to be mad, I guess, and argue with the vocal few. The thing is, I never run into the vocal few. I can only speak to my experience. If I want to be honest, and I do, I need to leave the fort and explore the real world outside the influence of Limbaugh and CNN. The truth is, I’ve meet people. Real people, who work and party and hurt. Who sit beside hospital beds, go to baseball games, and play in bands. These people are not statistics or demographics. They have names and faces. Many are now friends who I love. Some have different politics. Some are a different race, different religion, different orientation than me. For the most part I find the passengers on this ship to be lovely. I know they're loved by God. And I find they love my family, too. Do we always agree? No. Do I speak my mind? Do I share my faith? Yes, my life would be a lie if I didn’t. Do they get mad and argue? Almost never.
Life is a matter of perspective. Look for hate and brother you’ll find it—there’s plenty. But look for love and you’ll find that more. Choose love. If you're Christian, like me, don't choose it as a cop-out on your faith, but because of your faith. Jesus marked time with prostitutes and drunks. With the broken and least of these. With kids and lepers and and tax collectors. He loved them. But who did he call out? The pharisees and the hypocrites. We don’t need to win arguments. We need to give God’s heart. We don’t need people to think or act or vote like us. It’s not about us. It’s about Him. When we eliminate ourselves from the equation, we can invite people home to the Father with pure faith and no agenda. Then they can find the peace the Father gives. Then God wins.
Yeah the vocal few are dangerous. To everyone, not just families like mine. We know it's going to get worse. But they’re motivated by hate, and hate loses, no matter how it’s manipulated or the tables turned. They're good about that but they’re fighting a stacked deck. No matter the legislation. No matter the agenda. To the very end of this earth end men will love women. Women will love men. People will marry. Children will be born. Brothers and sisters will squabble and protect one another. Grandmas and Aunts will tear up at talent shows. Dads will pretend not to tear up at ball games. We’ll fight with each other. We’ll fight for each other. We’ll have each other’s backs. We will love. The family is a brick house. It’s a picture of God’s unity and a gift to men. It will last because He will last.
Ransom and I, we’ll see a few more states and a few more stages. We'll wander backroads America. We’ll meet farmers and cowboys, surfers, music legends and baristas. We’ll pray in restaurants. We’ll smile, make friends, and leave tips. We’ll honor Jesus the best we can. We’ll leave towns churches, truck stops, and Starbuck’s with our hearts full. And in the end, hopefully, we'll have given more than we received.
And soon be home with our wives, sisters and daughters. Nothing feels better than blood on blood.
Fair winds travelers,