It all started with a test.
A test to see how much fun was I having in my life.
I Failed. Miserably.
But that very day God provided a solution…
…become a Peacemaker.
More specifically, become an international-traveling, life-loving, experience-embracing, concert-screaming, “Here’s To Life!”-saluting Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers fan.
Now, 3 years, 9 shows, 7,406 miles, 2 countries, 5 cities, dozens of shots of tequila, 9 albums, and 8 hotels later, I can truly say I am having more fun, soaking in better music, enjoying a better marriage, drinking better tequila, and am more energized to take a big bite out of this beautiful world than I ever thought possible.
How did this happen?
It was May 6th, 2007. My wife was gone on a weekend getaway, and I was home in the middle of another “Hey I’m almost 38 and I need to behave like an adult with 4 kids and a mortgage that won’t quit so don’t tell me I need to squeeze fun into the middle of my busy, career-building, debt-soaked life” day.
Little did I know God had already put in motion a grand plan to put a smile back on my heart.
At church the topic was “God Loves Fun”. The main point was that God loves it when we have fun…good ol’ fashion barn-burning, doesn’t-have-to-be-spiritual-to-be-God-affirming fun. During the service we took a test to measure how much fun we were having in our lives.
I failed, and not just a “hey, maybe you should see an extra movie once in a while” kind of fail, but a “Sheesh, you’re stifling your life by taking it all way too seriously” kind of fail.
Then the cavalry rode in to rescue me…
…with my wife leading the charge, a glyph flag waving in the wind, and a rock n’ roll band singing about Mexican moonshine, contraband, hourglasses, grains of rice, and leaky little boats.
The wife pulled into the driveway happier than I’ve seen her in a long time. She had just experienced her first Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers (RCPM) concert the night before (Cinco de Mayo) with her friend Lisa and was already breathing in the good vibrations of life.
I then proceeded to tell her of my test…and how grandly I failed it. Within 2 minutes, the next 36 hours (and really the rest of my life) were set. It went something like this:
ME: …then it said I needed to find something fun. Something spontaneous.
HER: RCPM is playing tonight in Des Moines! LETS GO!
ME: You’re nuts.
HER: (eyes sparkling, smile gleaming, toes bouncing)
ME: What about the kids, catching up on work, and who would want to go with us?
HER: James and Lisa! I know she’ll call within 10 minutes saying that they’re going!
HER: “Hello? Lisa! …Awesome! …working on him now. See you in 30 minutes”
HER: “Hello? Mom, we need a favor…yes…20 minutes. Thank you!”
HER: All set. Lets Rock.
HER: COME ON!
30 minutes later we were fleeing our mundane home towards a temporary Sonoran oasis in Des Moines to see RCPM. During the trip we got a crash course in the history of RCPM, The Refreshments, someone named Buddy, and listened to as many songs as possible.
3.5 hours later RCPM took the stage.
The quick snare roll led into the infectious guitar riff that offered us a special kind of contraband. We were off on a journey led by an experienced troubadour through the adventures that life had in store for us if we just opened ourselves to the opportunities.
The Telecaster started the very next song with a perfect rhythmic riff offering us to go down together while the Les Paul blasted licks that sounded how red wine tastes..we liked that a lot.
By the end of the night, when the songs were mere echoes in our heads, the limes had been bitten, and our back-stage conversations with the band were over, my life-lens had been re-focused. I was given a musical medicine that could mend my attitude when it faltered.
I discovered it wasn’t a mundane home I was fleeing after all. It was a mundane attitude on life. I had everything one could hope for, except the ability to recognize it. The vibrations I heard that night brought me closer to God, my wife, music, and my kids. I began to remember what it felt like to compose a song. How a 2 line lyric backed by the right chords can melt a heart, unify a crowd, and make a soul come alive.
I remembered what it was like to have fun.
I realize now that while it’s hard work to live life with a passion, and that it takes energy to squeeze the most out of this world, the results are well worth it:
- A far happier attitude
- A marriage closer and lovelier than I could imagine
- A domestic adventure worth cherishing (con quatro niños!)
- An expectation that something great is about to happen every day
And here’s the best part: we don’t go to RCPM shows to escape our lives…instead we have infused this life-loving RCPM attitude into our daily living. Going to an RCPM show is our way to add fuel to our peace-and-love-through-rock-and-roll fire that burns in our hearts.
Thank you Roger, Jim, P.H., Nick, Steve for providing the contraband.
Thank you wife for sailing on this beautiful adventure by my side.
Thank you God for showing me how rich and textured a life can be.
Salud. Here’s to life!