Where Are They Now?
By Julia Saites, RYFO Storyteller
When I first saw a copy of HM magazine – I was intrigued to the point of purchase. I saw it in a Christian bookstore back in 2005. After that first purchase, I was hooked and became a subscriber. HM served as my insight into the music I loved so much. I have kept all my issues.
Often times I flip through my back issues rediscovering bands and insights. Today, as I flip through Issue #130 from 2008, I look at the bands and I wonder: What has happened to these men and women? Are they still around? Do they still make music? Do they still tour? Where are they now?
The reason I pulled out HM Issue #130 is because an interview was brought to my attention with Shiny Toy Guns. The editor asked, “What do you think of Jesus Christ?” Jeremy Dawson (synthesizer player/programmer) responds, “Jesus Christ? Sadly, no one’s asked me that in a year.” He continues, “I think that… It sounds selfish, but it would be neat to have like a mobile … like a band bus you could go to and there’d be people there, like accountability people in there. When you’re on tour it’s really… There’s all these things that are around, loaded with temptations and all the fun things of this world. And you have people that you phone back to for accountability, but it’s like a penpal. It’s not the same. You don’t have a buddy with you all the time…” Dawson continues explaining tour life, “…But it’s tough to be in an environment and not have somebody with you when it’s like: ‘Should I get in that car and go to that party? I probably shouldn’t,’ but it’s just me all by myself to have to make that decision.” His last words hit me hard. “So, as far as Christ goes…it (touring) really creates a wedge in a direct relationship or a regular prayer life or fellowship with others that believe the same. It makes it really tough. It really does.”
Where are they now?
I am not asking about where they are now on the charts, or what success they have had or not had in the world, I am asking the hardest question I can’t even answer completely for myself, Where are they now in relationship with Jesus Christ?
All the success in the world – on the charts, money in the bank, arena tours, buses instead of vans, planes instead of buses or all the perceived defeats of the music industry – broken-down vans, playing for a crowd of twelve, no radio play, debt, and finally break-ups – none of those scenarios are as important as the health of one’s soul. But I ask you, how do we contribute to the health of their souls?
Whether we realize it or not these men and women are tired of sleeping in moving vans. They have to utilize those gross gas station bathrooms daily. They may have little money and time to feed themselves with proper nutrition. It may be an easy fix for us to come to the rescue to meet some of those needs. Clearly, meeting those needs are essential to the health of the artists. But, we also somehow inherently know their souls are in need of nutrition as well. For many of us, it’s not that we are ashamed of Jesus, but perhaps we are not sure if we should “go there.” Do we consider that we need to go there? How often, during your struggles in life, do you walk up to a stranger and blurt out, “I’m sinking! I’m a mess and I’m empty! I miss my family and I may be looking for fulfillment somewhere I shouldn’t be! Please help me!”? Really, what stranger has run into your living room vomiting their pain all over your floor? So, how can we expect an artist to just spill their guts to us without provocation? Usually, relationships take time – trust needs to be built so we can begin to bear each other’s burdens. But time we don’t always have. Minutes maybe hours, or a day or two if we’re super lucky – that’s all we get with these travelers.
What is the answer?
1) Use your voice.
2) Learn from each other.
3) USE YOUR VOICE.
How difficult is it to ask, “How can we pray for you?” or “How is your family back home?”? Many of us don’t ask these simple questions. If you do, you are to be commended and are an example for the rest of us. We must want to contribute to the health of these men and women who we may only get minutes with. We should care and want to know that they broke up not because they were spiritually drained or empty, but because God was taking them in new directions. We can be the “band bus filled with accountability people” or the voice on the other end of the line offering Jesus, not by a meal, but by real love, prayer and encouragement. We are the chosen people. You are chosen by God to share your love with your gifts and talents and with your voice.
We may be serving the voices, but let’s also literally use our voices to serve. We must. If we don’t then when we think of every musician we so silently loved, we will be haunted by the question: Where are they now?