Forty years. A long time. Lots of things have changed in 40 years. I know I’ve changed. But even though we change, once in a while it’s fun to revisit the days of our youth. While I certainly wouldn’t want to go back and do it all over again, there’s a comfort about remembering for a little while.
On Friday night I went to a rock concert. The first and only other rock concert I ever went to was around 1976. I was in high school and went with some friends to see the Doobie Brothers at the basketball arena on the Ohio State Campus. It was loud and there were people there who had obviously started their “happy” way before they arrived at the concert. The air was blue with smoke, some of which smelled a little too sweet. I guess it was the right atmosphere for the band playing that night. I remember enjoying the music and the people I was with but I didn’t come away feeling like I couldn’t wait for the next concert. In fact, I never went to anything like that again.
Fast forward to last Friday. The groups playing were The Doobie Brothers and Journey. The tickets were a birthday gift for my husband who has always enjoyed Journey’s music. This time the concert was outside in an amphitheater that seated 20,000 people and was full to overflowing. We arrived early and as I watched the people coming in I wondered how many of them may have seen these groups back in the day as teenagers. The crowd was definitely on the old-ish side!
But, some things don’t change. The music was still loud ( I had wadded up tissues stuffed in my ears) and we still got a whiff of something a little too sweet in the air and there were still those folks who had obviously started their “happy” earlier as well. Although, this time some of their long hair was now quite gray.
I still enjoyed the experience. It was fun to share the memories that were brought to the surface that night. But this time, with four decades behind me, I saw some things I never noticed before. One especially strong observation was how many of the songs played described loneliness and heartbreak. The lyrics were written from a place of searching, asking the question, “is this all there is?”
It was obvious that the folks in the audience were having a good time. It was fun to see a couple of ladies, probably ten years older than me, bobbing their heads and grinning at each other as they sang along. One woman was watching through opera glasses. I wondered how many of those people were also searching for something more.
As Journey was about half way into their set of songs, I could see the busses for the Doobie Brothers pulling out of the parking lot headed out to who knows where for their next gig. I wondered if the lead singers have to ask before they go out on the stage, “what city are we in again?” so they don’t say “Hello, Tampa!” when they are really in Miami.
I couldn’t help but think as I watched those busses leaving, while listening to Journey singing, “Just a small town girl, livin’ in a lonely world. She took the midnight train goin’ anywhere,” that it was so symbolic of the life most of the world is living.
So many lonely, hurting people. And we have the answer for them. We know the secret of peace and life. It was a reminder that perhaps it’s time to slow down and pay more attention to those around me. There are so many people who need someone to share some hope with them. Could I set my agenda, my to-do list aside for a while and take time to look around me? Could I bring hope to someone else today? Could you?
Jesus is better than a rock concert. But nobody will know it if we keep Him to ourselves.
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.