Dear Dale and Sharon,
Mrs. Dude (she doesn’t like her name being mentioned on the Internet) and I were delighted to be at the celebration of your fiftieth wedding anniversary yesterday. It was our privilege to spend time with you, your family and your extended family; the people whose lives you have touched throughout the years devoted to ministry through missionary work.
I especially thank you for the gift you gave all of us in the presence of your three children.
Most noticeably, their individual and collective insanity.
Only an insane person in the early 1980s would decide to throw themselves into the maelstrom of playing Christian rock at a time when doing so put anyone daring to expand the boundaries of what was musically acceptable into the immediate category of at best being marginal within the grand scheme of things church-wise. It was embracing a hardscrabble existence of sporadic gigs, broken-down buses and record labels whose primary function was lining their own pockets at their artist’s expense. Yet this is what your children did, they and their brethren in rebellion one drum beat at a time.
And they’ve stayed insane throughout the years, long after the records stopped being made and the tours stopped being slogged through. In fact, they were insane as recently as 2005, when they had the certifiably nutso notion of having another concert; they and their friends playing the songs from two very long decades ago.
I went to that concert, a burned out, embittered and indifferent quasi-believer who had long ago quit on a God I thought had quit on me. Oh, there was still some threads of faith hanging around. But not many, and they all were of the honey badger variety. Namely, don’t care.
That night, I started caring again.
That night, I looked at myself no longer with pity, but with a wondering if somehow I could reconnect with the joy I knew when I first believed.
That night, Jesus became real to me again.
It’s been a rugged road since then, with assorted heartbreaks and hurdles to overcome. But I’ve stayed the course as best I can.
All because of what happened at that concert.
The one made possible by your certifiably insane children.
God bless their insanity.
And you for giving them to the world.