Press On!

me-and-trey

The above is a picture of me with Trey Anastasio taken in downtown Indianapolis sometime during the summer of 2004… he has been somewhat of an idol of mine as the front-man of the late jam band Phish, mildly successful solo artist, genius composer of modern music, and kick-ass guitar player!  This picture bears testimony to the cliche that good things come to those who wait.

In 2000, as a drunken 16 year old, I fell in love with the band on the lawn at Lakewood (HiFi Buys) amphitheater.  For the next three years, I was subjected to the bittersweet reality that I had seen Phish for the first time on what had quite possibly been their last tour ever.  At the end of the 1999 summer tour the band announced that they would be taking an indefinite hiatus … and though I could be as big of a fan as possible during those three years, the reachable degree of fanatic was limited by the fact that the object of my affection & time didn’t exist.

As you might have figured from the first paragraph and the subtle use of a finite time period, the band reunited in 2003.  When they came through Atlanta I was there again and it was glorious!

But before the beginning of the 2004 summer tour, the heartbreaking announcement was made … Phish would be officially disbanding after this last run.  And what was worse, they wouldn’t be running a southern leg … no Atlanta, no Raleigh, no Charleston, Birmingham … nothing close to me.

Well, drastic times call for drastic measures and so my friend, Carter, and I decided to buy tickets to the two shows in Indianapolis, IN (this is what true Phish phans do …).  We borrowed a newly acquired friend’s car (neither of ours could be trusted to last 1200 miles) and drove up on the day of the first show.  As expected, it was incredible.

The next day, while driving around the city and site seeing a little bit, we decided to stop at a CVS and buy a disposable camera so that we could document the remainder of our trip.  We turn the first corner after having bought the camera, and what to my wandering eyes should appear, but Trey all alone, and the streets they were clear. 

I opened my door and leapt out of the car,
my eyes fixed upon him, it wasn’t too far. 
Three or four lanes and a fence in between,
But I couldn’t miss out, for this wasn’t a dream. 
So I ran and I jumped and I stuck out my hand,
while my friend parked the car, soon beside me he’s stand …

I’m kind of over the “night before Christmas rhyme” at this point (but that’s how exciting it was) so I’ll just tell you the rest of the story in free verse … 

Carter showed up with the camera as Trey was telling me the story of some kid tripping on acid at the first show I had been to.  He had turned out to be much nerdier than I was expecting, but it didn’t matter.  God had smiled on us and the camera was here.  I asked a random girl walking down the street if she would take a picture of Trey and I together, and she obliged.  So we got into our picture pose as the girl was being given the camera, continued our conversation in anticipation of the inevitable counting that would signal the advent of picture taking …

But the counting never happened … the next thing I heard from her was “here ya go” and the next thing I knew the camera was in my hand and the preemie picture taker was gone.  If you will take a gander back at the picture you will see that I’m mid-captivating sentence and Trey is obviously captivated!

And while I may have been exaggerating trey’s excitement, I’m not exaggerating mine.  I had been as big of a fan as my conservative upbringing would let me be and after a hiatus and 4 years I had a picture with my musical idol.  It sits in a frame on my dresser and is currently the only picture that I have displayed anywhere! 

So, I was recently reading through the blog that I’ve begun writing on for the college ministry I’m working on starting up here in Atlanta.  And as I read I became frustrated with the fact that at some point a number of months ago I seemed very up for the challenge that starting a ministry seemed like it would pose.  But recently I’ve been easily discouraged by the slowness of it all.  I’ve showed up to three meetings (planned conversations or Bible studies) to which a total of 1 student has ever showed up.  I have friends at Georgia Tech whom I have done ministry with who are not showing up to the meetings; and though I understand that GT students have a tendency to be busy, it has never effected me and only me quite so bluntly.

But while the post was a bit frustrating, it also served as a reminder of the faith that I used to hold and that I desire to hold again; a faith that is hopeful in a God who teaches and guides us; a God whose good work can cover our flaws and inabilities; a faith that believes in God smiling on those who devote themselves to His work and believe that good things come to those who wait on the Lord.

I realize that the connection to my Trey story is a loose one, but in my mind it made sense somehow … and that’s what blogs are for!

So, my hope is that this post can serve some of you as it has served me.  Be frustrated by it, but try to let it challenge you to rediscover a humble ministry of submission to the original Artist and Creator:

Well, here it is; the first, official blog post! My name is Will and I will be returning to the great city of Atlanta in June 2008 to try to align Peachtree Presbyterian Church, the students at Georgia Tech, and myself with the mission of Jesus Christ in the world. I know that the last thing Georgia Tech needs is another program-centered ministry, and so we will not create one …

There is a virtual blank canvas in front of us at Peachtree and at GT, and while we may be committed to creating a missional painting of college students who are absolutely caught up in the movement of Jesus, most of us don’t really know what that looks like.

And while this can be a scary thought on some levels, it is incredibly exciting at the same time. We get to enter into the art school of Jesus, the Creator of all that we see!

So come join us as we fling paint all over the canvas; as we learn, from the King Himself, the art of creating a kingdom-centered community.

Amen!

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~ by Will Norman on September 11, 2008.

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