Saturday, October 4, 2014

Sneaking On and Off the Stage

"Humility is not thinking less of yourself than you ought.  It's not thinking of yourself at all."
-C.S. Lewis

I'm back in my hotel room after attending an Audrey Assad concert with a dear friend. Before tonight, I think 1993 was the last time tears streamed down my face without understanding why.

But, this time it wasn't the holiness of Saint John Paul II or even the exquisite beauty of Audrey's voice that moved me beyond this capacity to understand my own feelings.  Her vulnerability and humility swept through the door of my soul.  At the beginning of her concert, she made no introduction, but unassumingly took her place after the music started.  Like she wasn't THE reason we were there.

She led us seamlessly from song to song except for the one time she stopped to speak about herself, and then only shared those things which united us in our humanity - personal struggles with anxiety, and hope for restoration and redemption.

It felt like we'd been there minutes at best, when her musicians quietly laid their instruments down and left the stage.  It was down to Audrey and her piano, and us.  We followed most eagerly wherever she cared to lead, and would still be there if she had been willing.

Instead, to close for the evening, she led us in a familiar hymn...

Lord, I need you, oh how I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need you

And there we were, singing from the depths of our hearts with Audrey's voice arching over all.  Until it wasn't.

During the final refrain, she walked silently down the stairs, off the stage, and out the door.  My friend had her eyes closed, and was stunned to find an empty stage at the song's end.  A prayer scrolled silently down the screen and we finished it with a collective Amen.  The lights came on and we did our best to hang on to her, to call her back.  

But, she did not return.  She did something better.  She left us with our profound need for God, and nothing of herself to distract us from it.  


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