The next evening, after a day of scavenging the local bookstores, Eric came back for an all-church concert. With guitar in hand, charango in tow, and a harmonica to boot, Eric began to weave a tale. And imbedded in the fabric of this story was the promise, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
He told his own story. He read from his childhood diary and we were transposed into the mind of a child. He sang of his wife in songs like, "Sad to Watch You Wave" and "May Your Tenderness." He gave a benediction to his sons in the song, "I Will Go with You." He sang of his own struggles, disillusionment, and hope in songs like "Reality Came Crashing Down" and "Old Year of Denial." And rising like a steady drumbeat was the guarantee "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
He told the stories of others. With a smirk and a wink, he sang of a race horse with an identity complex. Cloaked in the fur-covered garments of Jacob, he told of a conman who was blessed. Donning the rust of an abandoned bicycle, he told of his desire to be reclaimed. And sporting the skittish feet of a rabbit, he told of his longing for a place of rest. The drum beat drew ever nearer, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
He told my own story. There is a quote by Frederick Buechner inside the cover of Eric's latest CD that says, "The story of any one of us is in some measure the story of us all." In the stories Eric told, I found my own story of fear and faith, displacement and hope, anxiety and trust. My own struggle to love and be loved was reflected back to me in the words, "I thought love was a weapon to conquer and wield but love turned out humble and it still conquers me." And I surrendered with the realization that, "little by little it's becoming all I need." Rattling the bones of my own story is the pounding promise, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
For those interested, here's the set list for the night:
- "You Come Over Me"
- "Little by Little Things"
- "Run Down"
- "Reality Came Crashing Down"
- "Old Year of Denial"
- "I Will Go with You"
- "Sad to Watch You Wave"
- "Son of Laughter"
- "You Can be Yourself"
- "May Your Tenderness"
Thank you to everyone who came out for the show. I hope you left with the assurance that you are never alone.