Gratitude Chronicles – Part VI
For a long time I wanted to be a big rock musician. This was the season of my life that pre-dated the longer season of where I wanted to be an evangelical rock star pastor. I guess I’ve always wanted the fame, the attention, and the spotlight on me. I always thought it would be the coolest thing to write songs, record songs, hear my songs on the radio and play my songs to an adoring throng of people who knew all the lyrics and could sing them back to me while I pranced in front of them on stage. This was my dream as each of my band’s came and went. None of the bands produced the desired rock star success I had in my head when each band began. Sure we had a few good gigs here, some fun times there, made a few recordings, but we definitely were not rock stars. I mean we couldn’t even tell stories of hitting the road in a single beat up van, playing smoke-filled backwater bars, and emptying our pockets just to share one Big Mac at McDonald’s. I never even experienced the worst part of being in a rock band. U2 we were not.
Years later, I read a biography about the greatest rock band in the world. I was reading Bill Flanagan’s great travelogue/bio “U2 At The End Tf The World.” It was an impressive story that covered this amazing band’s world tour at the height of their creative power. They traveled with every amenity one could possibly imagine. They would transplant from one continent to another, transplanting their families into one very nice hotel, and then flying to every city on that continent from that one hotel. Imagine sitting poolside with your family at lunch, hopping on your own plane, flying to a distant city, getting off the plane and then walking onstage at 9pm with the sound system set up, your drums tuned, your guitars ready, and all you have to do is rock out to your adoring fans. That was their story and their lives. As I read the travelogue of this amazing tour I was shocked when I thought to myself, “I’m glad I never became a rock star.” I shook for a moment in shock. I thought, “Did I just think that?” I thought some more, “Really? You’re glad you didn’t get what you thought you wanted so badly so long ago?” The honest answer was, “Yes.” Many years later, I honestly felt like I could visit the U2 world tour for about one week, before I would want to get off of the rock star ride described so well in the book. What I once wanted so badly, I now didn’t want so much. Then I wondered, “What does that mean for what I want so badly right now?” I found myself sitting with a very uncomfortable question, “Will the things I think I want now prove satisfying and worthy of my pursuit?”
I like to think I understand what I really want in life. You probably think the same thing about your life. We think we understand what we want in our relationships with our family and friends. We think we understand what we want to accomplish in our vocation. We think we understand what stuff we want to store in our garage and attic. We want to think we know what we want, and we truly believe that what we want for ourselves is truly the best, most life-giving direction for our lives. So with all of that in mind – I wish to thank God for His “No” answers to my prayers, and His silence on many of my old dreams. What about you?