"Hey, what's going on?" he asked.
"Not much," I said. "Right now I'm mostly just trying to figure out why you would be calling me."
He laughed. His mom and I have been friends since we were teens, and I've known him all his life, but I don't think he's ever called me just to chat.
"Actually," he said, "I have a request." And then it all spilled out, how he knew it was short notice, but his band could fly me to Nashville and put me up in a hotel, and our story would be a perfect fit for this project, and all the filming would be done in one day, and was there any way I could do it?
He named the date -- Monday, July 18 -- and I told him we had a family event in Ohio the previous weekend, but we'd be driving back to Texas that day. A glance at the map showed our route passed right through Nashville. I asked George, and he didn't see why not, so Yes, I said, I could come, and they wouldn't even have to fly me there. I'd already be in the neighborhood.
Happy coincidence, some would say. Serendipity. If you wrote this sort of thing in a novel, it might be criticized as a contrivance, but have you noticed how often it happens in real life?
The word he used was providential, and we shared the wonder.
We pulled into town Sunday evening as planned, and Monday morning he and his darling wife joined us for breakfast at Noshville, a local hot spot near the Vanderbilt campus. Over toasted bagels and steaming cups of robust coffee, they told us more details about the band's upcoming release and how this video project would fit in and the hope that all of it would help hurting people know that God is kind and loving and is working out His beautiful purposes, even when life looks like a shattered mess.
As I listened, my heart swelled with joy. These young and talented musicians are gaining popularity and few would fault them for setting their sights solely on commercial success. They could pour all their energy into reaching for the stars, but they're reaching for the One who made the stars instead. They understand what it means to be artists with a Master, seeking His glory above their own. And isn't it God's mercy and goodness that we seek Him and His glory at all?
After breakfast we returned to the hotel, checked out, and headed to the filming location. As we drove I thought about God's heart for His wounded children and how they long to hear from Him, and I prayed. For the director, for me, and for everyone who would ever watch this video. I prayed that I would get out of God's way, and His beauty and goodness would shine through.
I sat in a chair, and the director sat behind two cameras, and for an hour, we talked. He asked me to tell our story, and as I did, he asked questions. Hard questions. And I answered.
A kaleidoscope contains mirrors and fragments of colored glass. By itself, each bit of glass is small and unimpressive. But when it becomes part of the whole design and is shifted into the light, we see explosion after explosion of breathtaking beauty.
We aren't meant to live alone in our pain or our redemption. We aren't meant to hide our fractures or the light that transforms them into jewel-toned glory. We're in this kaleidoscope together by design. These breathtaking patterns of varicolored brilliance existed long ago in the heart of the Artist, and He twists and turns this life with purpose, the pieces tumbling into place at His command.
The director asked the hard questions, and I answered, and the tears in his eyes caught the light and reflected it back to me in colors of grace.
When the interview ended he hugged me. There's power in story, he said. Power to make us family.
We said our goodbyes and began our journey home. For a long time I stared out the side window watching the world go by and pondering what a privilege it is that we belong to each other, all of us broken, but all of us part of this glorious dance. Even when it's our moment to slide into the light, grace reminds us that the grand design is so much more.
Real joy is found in slipping quietly aside to watch the greater beauty explode, fractured lives caught up in His purposes, their colors ignited and set ablaze.
Jeanne Damoff is deeply grateful for the opportunity to help spread the word about these gifted souls and their beautiful upcoming project. Stay tuned . . .