I want to be influential.
I want to write, draw, create, film, photograph, construct and by all of those things be influential. I want to make my mark on the world, to have a certain level of impact on those around me. I have started trying to write more, in fact, I have begun to make more time in my life to do all of those things that I have listed above. Essentially, I want to be known. I want to be famous.
It sounds ugly coming out of my mouth, which is why it is difficult for me to accept that at the foundation of many of the things I do, is a desire to elevate myself above those around me. I have a desire to be perceived as better than those around me, even if in fact, I am not.
The desire is ugly, and there is no way to just gloss over it. At the same time however, even though I knew this ugliness resided in my heart, I thought I was keeping it under control. I thought that I was not letting it affect my actions. I thought that I would rise above that desire and be an even better person because of my ability to rise above it. You may start to see where this thought process was leading me.
So when I found myself in Williamsport Indiana for a church picnic and concert on Monday, I swaggered in with all of my self confidence and bravado barely in check. I was there to “change the world” by filming another part of this documentary I am working on. You know, one of those things that is going to make me famous! I was there specifically to film theSurrendering, who are an amazing husband and wife duo that sold everything to move into a 17″ camper and tour the country sharing their music anywhere they are invited with no financial expectations. If you haven’t checked them out, you should! Williamsport is where Joe and Rebecca set off from last September, and I wanted to capture a bit of what it was like for them to be back home after being gone for so long.
If I am entirely honest with myself (and you) another reason I was filming Joe and Rebecca at this particular event is that they had somehow managed to get the lead singer of one of my all-time favorite bands to play an acoustic set after them. Matt Baird is the lead singer of Spoken, and if you knew me in high school, you might remember the Spoken hoodie I wore almost everyday. So when I found out he would be there too, I just knew that this event was one I didn’t want to miss.
I pulled in at about 2:30 to a crowd that looked like about 100 people. Joe and Rebecca went on at 3(ish) and Matt was scheduled to play at about 4. I ran around dutifully collecting footage that I hope will be useful for the documentary, and kept a watchful eye on the stage to make sure I didn’t miss Matt. Due to a slight confusion regarding time zones, Matt was a wee bit late, and by the time he arrived, the crowd had dwindled a little more.
I don’t really know what I expected from Matt, but I do know that if I had pulled in an hour late for a show, I would be really frustrated with myself, and everyone, and everything around me. My attitude would have been particularly sour once I saw the size of the crowd. I think my inner dialogue if I were in Matt’s place would be something to the effect of “don’t these people know who I am? I’m the lead singer of a freakin’ awesome band!”
So when towards the end of his set Matt took a few minutes to share a part of his story, I was a little surprised by the way he chose to finish. He said to this crowd of about 70 people of all shapes and sizes, by no means the largest or “most important” crowd he has ever been in front of “It is an honor to be here, thank you for letting me be here.” He didn’t say it ironically, or sarcastically, but sincerely and intentionally. He took this crowd of people he would probably never meet again, and treated them as family, as beloved friends. I have never felt so included at a concert as I did in that moment.
Which leaves me to confront my ugliness anew.
I never even thought about thanking any of the people around me for letting me crash their party. I just assumed that what I was doing was inherently important and that those around me would see that. Regardless of intent, I missed an opportunity to connect with my brothers and sisters in Christ that Matt took advantage of.
I hope that I will learn from Matt’s humility and that it will change the way I treat those around me. That I will quickly forget my self assigned importance, and learn to truly treat others like I want to be treated.
Matthew 23:12 “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” ESV
Enough about me…go check out these awesome (and humble) people!
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