What’s Your Story?

“Everyone has a story, but unfortunately, we rarely see but a glimpse.”

This compelling statement was one of many last evening during an intimate evening of art and music with Amy Grant at the historic and stunningly beautiful Atlanta Opera House.

From the moment of entrance, it was clear this night was destined to be magical. For me, especially so.

If you will indulge me a personal moment (a glimpse) of this little boy now a man who grew up in the poverty of the Appalachians – entering this gilded “big city” palace and viewing my paintings placed prominently alongside art created by the likes of Annie Leibovitz was more than I could emotionally absorb.

Each guest received VIP treatment during this evening replete with class and beauty. From the wine to the seating to the parting gift, no detail was left undone. Kudos to Synergy Production Group who produced the tour. And special thanks to Keely Marie Scott for the photos on this post.

As we moved from the gallery into the Opera House auditorium, the sensory delight continued with antique chandeliers, quaint box seats and a stage reminiscent of times when we valued aesthetics over function. It provided the perfect backdrop for one of America’s most gifted troubadours.

Joined by three exceptionally talented band mates, Amy Grant, perfectly dressed in a black ensemble, leggings and boots, set the tone of the evening with the song Come Into My World. And for ninety minutes she regaled and enchanted us with “pieces of her life.

From the family photos “newly digitized” on the screen above, to the sometimes raw but always authentic and unpretentious glimpses into her life, she afforded us (as only an artist can) the opportunity to reflect and re-evaluate our own stories.

The cute little teenage girl who sang Brand New Start and was the object of many a young Christian boys’ first crush thirty years ago has now become a stunningly beautiful woman and loving mother of four who frankly sings Somewhere Down The Road.

As the pieces of her life came together last night, it was clear the road has not always been easy. The stories of losing a girlfriend and fellow musician to ovarian cancer, first meeting future husband Vince Gill, traveling to Uganda with her family to meet the little girl her daughter sponsors through Compassion, and the trepidation of approaching fifty years of age, were all recounted with a perfect combination of humility and candor.

No complaining. No innuendos. Just simple honesty. Her crystal clear signature voice tinged with a bit of raggedness served as the perfect metaphor for a life that hasn’t gotten older—it’s gotten better.

The true reason for the evening crystallized before intermission as Ben, a tall, handsome, articulate young man from Nairobi, Kenya revealed to us a few pieces of his life. Growing up without hope in the largest trash dump in Africa, he was sponsored by a family via Compassion, International through grade school, high school, and later to college through the Leadership Development Program. His vision for Kenya and Africa is extraordinary and his story filled with hope and promise.

Future leaders such as Ben are the reason Amy is doing this tour, why the various artists created the art, and why Compassion exists. So that the stories of future generations from around the world may be told…and heard.

The tour continues tonight in Orlando and then on to other major markets. If it comes remotely close to you, please, please do NOT miss this magical evening. HERE are the upcoming venues. And if you would like to bid on the art to support the amazing Leadership Development Program of Compassion Internationalgo HERE.

So, what’s your story?

How does this post make you feel?

26 Responses to “What’s Your Story?”

  1. I am a bit perplexed as to why I am sitting in my cubicle crying after reading this post. Though it’s a typical response to some of your posts but I do think I need to look at the why of this one. Let me try. I love beauty. To me it’s a reflection of God’s detail and planning when it came to his creation. After all he was and is the first true artist. Amy has been a part of my life and so has those in her past and present. Love and adoration for all of them. The journey she has been on and gift she has been given moves me. That may be part of it. I count her ex as a friend and so there is some bitter sweetness there. I would also say the story of the young man maybe moving me as well. I miss the children I have sponsored in the past. One has been taken care of by previously mentioned friend because he knew I could no longer do so. To those reading sponsor, you will never regret it. Once again Randy you have stirred up in me some interesting emotions. Longing to help, moved by beauty and amazed by our loving God. (Didn’t say much about who I am but thank you for posting.)

  2. Richard Wentz October 6, 2010 at 15:01

    Sounds like the same amy Grant to me that blessed us on a snowy evening in February at Pucketts. Transparent, authentic, vulnerable, and just wonderful

  3. Sounds like it was a beautiful evening, Randy. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  4. Everyone has a story, that’s for certain. Although I have never sponsored someone through compassion, there have been those in my life that have supported me and believed in me, knowing I had a story.

    I have struggled through sexual abuse, rape, abandonment, depression, etc. There were people put in my life to reach out to me and give me hope. I dedicated one year of my life to The Table Rock Freedom Center (http://www.trfreedom.com) to get healing and redemption from the pain of my past.

    They reached out to me and gave me new hope. I think it’s amazing what people did so that others like myself and Ben can have a future and share with others the great things in our lives.

  5. I have a story that’s misunderstood so I gave up try to tell it.
    I exist that my story now period.

  6. In reading your post, I was swept back in time as if I was standing in the middle of a flash flood. Being caught in such a moment causes one to see their own life pass before their very eyes. I suddenly remembered listening to Amy as a young girl and snatching up her music for my then adolescent daughter. It was pop, and had a finger shaking effect to the church, but I saw a girl reaching out for freedom to be an artist. I followed Amy myself, as my daughter outgrew her, and watched her from a distance. I witnessed Amy walk through life with many of the same challenges of those who live honest in front of others. Her life passed from day to day, year to year and decade to decade – and as it passed – it left the beauty that is caused by life’s erosion among the most defiant mountain – allowing for a canyon of amazing color change during the setting of the sun! She is an amazing woman, who in her art has given us the most beautiful sunset and sunrise of color – and causes us to be the most hopeful every time we experience the art – her music in its spirit.

    Thank you for appreciating the magic moment – and sharing it on your post – as it transcended to my soul as the reader! By the way, my daughter is Julia Kate from http://philologus.wordpress.com/ – Why I don’t follow Rick Warren post and others!

    • @BernaLee, Oh my goodness. And now your daughter is creating her own art in freedom. Wonderful.

      I LOVE your quote: “Her life passed from day to day, year to year and decade to decade – and as it passed – it left the beauty that is caused by life’s erosion among the most defiant mountain – allowing for a canyon of amazing color change during the setting of the sun! She is an amazing woman, who in her art has given us the most beautiful sunset and sunrise of color – and causes us to be the most hopeful every time we experience the art – her music in its spirit.”

  7. This post makes me feel proud for you and inspired!

  8. I’ve often thought I don’t really have a story. Now I’m beginning to think it has been labelled as unimportant in the scheme of things and what I thought was required by godly humility. I have felt lost as a consequence. My immediate story is one of excavation. Looking for buried treasure to figure out who I am and why

    • @Michelle George, Yes, you have a story!! As my dear friend Patsy Clairmont says, “You just need your tree shook and the story will start falling out.”

      Don’t be afraid to shake or excavate or whatever you need to do. We need your story!!

  9. Amazing watercolors, Randy! So honored to be a small part of all of this.

  10. Proud for you, man. Thanks for sharing your evening with all of us.

  11. Incredible description and vulnerability, Randy! Thank you for ushering us into that evening with you.

Created by Randy Elrod

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