When I woke up, today was much like any other day. Alarm went off too early, and as I slowly began to prepare myself, the biggest concern on my mind was what on earth to wear. Today was our one year anniversary in our new building, and we had planned a very special celebration service. So I wrestled with the idea that I should wear a skirt, even though my desire was to be comfortable in jeans and flip flops as usual. And then I received word that Rob, our 19 year old bass player, had been struck by a car and killed instantly on his way home from the county fair. Suddenly I was not as concerned with what to wear. I immediately went into "Bob's assistant mode" and began calling the people that I knew needed to know this information before they walked into the building. (It is not fun waking people up in the morning with bad news. It kinda sucks.) While I am relaying the news to the pastors and gathering the information that Bob asked me to gather for him, I am stunned. Rob is the same age as my son Collin. My youngest Max, had seen him at the fair yesterday. It was hard to get ready for the day while knowing that the worship team was devastated and still had to lead worship.
We arrived at the church and I did my best to continue with the responsibilities I have every Sunday. As I typed out the order of service, I knew that it was merely a suggestion, so I put on the bottom that Bob could change things at any given moment, and for everyone to be flexible. Silly me. About 10 minutes later, as we were sound checking the band, everything went dark. The power went out in the entire building. We found out later that an entire grid was out of power. After one minute of looking at each other dumbfounded, I said to Ed and Kris "Well, this is a game changer." We all sprang into action, moving a grand piano into the auditorium and grabbing acoustic guitars and the hand drums. Thank goodness for the emergency lights. They gave us just enough to be able to see our way around. One phone call to the amazing Alice got us enough candles to light the entire front of the stage and enable the musicians to see their music, and Bob to see his notes. Nothing was going to stop us from service today, however hard it was. I watched the worship team as Bob announced the news of Rob's passing. I watched my good friends Eric and Betsy cry. Eric had been mentoring Rob, teaching him the things he needed to know to be a worship leader. His passing hit him hard. In the midst of all of this, I really felt that God was doing something that we could not understand. There was a reason for the lights being out. Michael, another worship leader had stepped up to play bass for us today, even though he had planned to take the Sunday off. But we all knew that God didn't want anyone else playing bass today. As He would have it, the power stayed off all through worship. The lights came back on right as Bob was praying for the offering. I don't think that was a coincidence. I think it was all part of the grand plan for today.
Rob was a great kid. In all the conversations that I had with him, he was polite, funny and a joy to be around. He knew he was called to be a musician. He gave up a full ride scholarship just to play bass in the church. He wanted to play worship music, and he did. In my lifetime, I have known many famous musicians. Big names all. However, Rob was more mature than any of them. He had a gift and he shared it. Shared it in the truest sense of what it means to share. He didn't merely want you to hear him play, he wanted to share with you the glory of the music. That is what truly made him stand out. It wasn't about him, it was about Jesus. He understood who gave him the gift and he used it for God's glory. The lights went out and we had one of the best times of worship I have ever experienced. Rob would have loved it.
So I sat outside today, quietly crocheting. I needed something quiet to do so that I could process the events of the day. I am not one who cries, I am one who seeks understanding for why things happen. One of the things that occurred to me is that you can plan and prepare for things, but when the lights go out, you better have lots of candles. (God Bless Alice!) I know many who work in the media and I wondered what they would do if the lights went out. What would the politicians do. Would it mess up their plans? Because someday, maybe soon, the proverbial lights will go out, and if we are not prepared, then we too will be set into a panic and fall away from the things that really matter. Like our faith. Our belief. And there may not be an Alice to help us.
So my thoughts, though scattered, can best be summed up by this. Don't get so caught up in the day to day, in what you will wear, in what you will say and do. Remember to use your gifts to the glory of the one who gave them to you. Listen to those who try to mentor you. Be humble. Seek out the truth tenaciously. Cultivate your faith unceasingly. Strengthen your belief. And always be prepared for the lights to go out.