The draft coming in through the propped-open door is just slightly cooler than the beer sitting in front of me in its clear plastic cup. Friends are seated in metal chairs as we crowd around pushed-together tables and listen intently to the sound of hearts being filled with words.
As my husband Jon puts it, a “master at his craft” stands on stage behind a single mic and a humble guitar, yet the sounds emanating forth are anything but humble.
The guitar players in the bunch have eyes wide open. The corners of their lips turn up and their chins gently shake back and forth as they sit with gazes locked on fast-moving fingers. David Wilcox travels from song to song, re-tuning his instrument in between, changing capos and twanging strings strongly and surely. He quickly finds the right sound for each note and it’s plain even to us commoners: this guy’s got an incredible ear.
A few songs in, David comments to a guy who’s seated in the front row, “Beautiful harmony.” Evidently the guy’s been singing along and, even though we in the back can’t hear him, David can.
“Would you join me on stage for the next song?”
This is a small venue, may be a hundred-plus folks. The mood is intimate, the tone casual, but no one’s expecting this. Before we know it, this nameless young man hops up on stage–no fanfare, just a simple “Sure”–and now the mic stands squarely between the two.
What happens after that is magical.
People in the audience take turns shouting out cheers of encouragement. I offer up a couple hollers from my seat too, but what I really wanna do is jump up and hug this guy.
There’s no “Oh, I couldn’t possibly. These folks paid good money to see you.” No comparison of himself to others in the audience: “Surely there’s someone here with a better voice than mine.”
May be there was; may there wasn’t. The bottom line is this: he had the voice for it and he used it.
The Lord’s been stirring something up inside me related to “voice.” I vacillate between being excited to use my voice and being scared and anxious. I’m sure some of this is the Enemy and some of it’s my own critical nature. Either way, when a sixteen-year old kid hopped up on stage and David Wilcox hugged his guitar a little tighter to make room behind his mic, something broke loose inside of me.
Nameless shared the stage with someone who’s made a name for himself and he didn’t reject himself and the idea that he had something to contribute. He allowed himself to be chosen but, more importantly, he chose himself.
Sitting in that crowded cafe, it reminded me of what the Lord does with us. He’s the star, the main act. The One people came to see. But, by grace, He invites us up, calls us out by name, asks us to share in something amazing. His tune’s the melody, we add in the harmony.
All because a Master has chosen to make room on His stage.
And when others witness our simple “sure” they’re blessed by what happens next. It’s not perfection, it’s not rehearsed or polished. It’s simply one person using their voice and saying, “Yes. I choose myself.”
This is the first post of several on the topic of “voice.” The Power of a Voice series is just another way God is healing me. The goal? We all need reminding we have a voice and that it’s important. I’ll be sharing stories of voices that have impacted me and left me forever changed, including a time I risked using my own.
And just in case you’re about to disqualify yourself, think simple conversations, humble moments. A power outage, a playdate, a talk on the phone. This is the stuff we’re made of, this is what we already do.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:15
Photo credit: Flickr: Kentucky Country Day, Creative Commons
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