Looking for a place to happen, making stops along the way
Music has always been a part of my life.
I was a college DJ, but I can’t play an instrument worth a lick. I’ve collected about 11 thousand songs in my iCloud over the years. Wherever I am, there’s usually music playing. In worship, in the car, even at the driving range as I’m working on some part of my game. Some bands are in heavy rotation, some come and go, and there’s been a large infusion of Christian music over the last handful of years.
One of the bands that came and went is from Canada. I’d discovered the Tragically Hip just out of college and was a fan for a long time. They were radio staples in the northeastern United States and I heard them regularly on my frequent trips to the great white north. I’d also lost track of them, as my own “stops along the way” on my resume took me further and further south.
I got to rediscover them recently, stumbling across an internet article about how their lead singer, Gord Downie is struggling with a rare and terminal brain cancer several years after his wife’s successful struggle with the disease. The band was putting together one last unofficial goodbye tour across Canada, ending with a show in their hometown of Kingston, Ontario.
Thanks to the CBC, I watched the live stream of the Kingston concert along with about a 40 percent of Canada’s population. It was a powerful, emotional night as a nation embraced Downie, who’s come to be known as the nation’s poet. Canada’s prime minister was even at the show. Almost fourteen hundred miles southwest of the concert hall, I sat on our couch with watery eyes, watching this outpouring of mutual affection as a nation says an informal goodbye all the while wondering if God toyed with the idea that he’d make me a Canadian. I guess not, but I do love the nation and the people.
Looking for a Place to Happen is one of the bands bigger hits, which they unleashed to loud applause near the end of the show. That song has been in my head for the last few weeks, and crossed my mind when I looked at Facebook this morning.
Today is my third anniversary with Good Life 45. Facebook reminded me of this fact, flashing back to a photo my friend Jim took on my first official day. I knew the anniversary was around this time of year, but couldn’t remember the exact date.
It got me thinking about how I’d spent my life looking for a place to “happen”, racking up many miles in my stops along the way. Each of those stops was the same. Go in, do your job, and move on when something bigger and better comes along or your contract runs out.
But what does “happen” really mean?
It used to mean putting together good stories within great shows, but what lasting impact did those have? It’s often said that you’re only as good as your last newscast, but your last newscast is history as soon as the next one starts. When the next producer walks into the control room, you’re done for the day and your work is a memory. There was fulfillment out of producing a good show or handling breaking news well, but there was no real lasting value. Your value was measured by a viewer ratings system. Lasting value became a source of wonder for me over the years, and the lack of it was one of the reasons why I wound up “retiring” from television news.
There’s been a huge difference over the last three years. Our idea of “happening” at Good Life 45 is having a lasting impact on people’s lives as we strive to share Christ in compelling ways. We’ve had the chance to tackle some tough topics lately. How many Christian stations apply the Scripture to programs on gay marriage, divorce, politics and human trafficking? It’s challenging and fulfilling. There’s lasting value in what we’re doing. We pray that the programming we produce changes lives, saves souls and brings people into a lasting relationship with Jesus Christ. I guess that’s about as “happening” as it can get.
We’ll never know, but we do speculate about how many lives our programming touches. This isn’t something a secular ratings system can measure, even though we’ve tried to apply that model to our station. God knows how we’re doing. He’s telling us, but we have to listen carefully to the stories we hear of how our programming impacts people. I used to be a numbers guy, but those stories have come to be good enough for me. We’re on the right path if we’re honoring God and sharing Christ in compelling ways.
But it left me wondering. Have I found the place to “happen”? Only God knows. He’s brought me this far and guided my stops along the way.
In the meantime, it’s been three years and counting. I’m blessed and honored to be a part of the Good Life 45 family.