Thursday, April 10, 2008

Kyle, John, Etc

My good friend John Sherrill was in town Tuesday with his family, and we had some great time visiting with them. John and I have been friends for about a decade, maybe a little more. Many of you know he joined me on the Breakaway worship team in ’98, and we’ve worked together, in one way or another, a lot since then. He’s just a good man: full of faith, very talented, loyal, honest, and funny as a monkey on a pony.

Anyway, I have two “praise the Lord!” thoughts on our time together. First, Staci and I got to see baby Kyle for the first time since we visited him in the hospital. When we saw him then, he weighed less than two pounds. I remember when I walked up and spotted him in the incubator thing, with all those tubes tied up to him, his body so small and frail and not-much-like-a-real-human-baby looking. I just started crying. I’m a big sissy about stuff like that. I cry at movies and pretty much every time Ty Pennington moves that bus to reveal a big house that doesn’t fit at all in its neighborhood, filled with rooms made to look like aquariums and cookie jars and space shuttle cockpits.

So it was probably wrong to even let me take a peek at little Kyle in that state. John actually laughed at me. At that point, they had been in the hospital for several days, so I guess he was used to it. I wasn’t. Hence the waterworks. It’s kind of ridiculous if you think about it. Me, the not-very-involved friend is balling and John, the daddy, is comforting me and trying not to laugh.

The point is that the last time I’d seen Kyle, he was just a little tiny dude with all the odds against him and a good chunk of hospital personnel attending to him.

When we saw him on Tuesday, he was 11 pounds of healthy baby. What a joy that was. I mean, he’s a little miracle. I guess all babies are, but Kyle might deserve to be put into a separate little category.

It made me think of my brother, and how right now, he and his family are facing a bunch of unknowns. Everybody is praying and trying to talk positive and trying not to talk about anything else. That’s how folks were with baby Kyle when he first appeared, way ahead of schedule, onto the scene.

When I saw him again the other day, I was just standing there looking down at his little victorious body, and I thought, “we just have to keep praying, keep trusting the Lord, and keep telling Him when we’re too tired to pray and too scared to trust.” That’s what John and Kelly did. That’s what a whole slew of their friends and family did. That’s all we can do. And because we’re God’s Kids, it seems like that’s more than enough to get thru this.

So that was the first “praise the Lord!” It was a big one. 11 pounds and change. Thank You God for saving and sustaining Kyle. He is a living reminder of Your goodness.

The second thing wasn’t nearly as dramatic, but it was still pretty good. Some of you may know that John started working, about 18 months ago, on a new CD. He’s a musician, so no big deal, right? Not exactly. This was kind of a different thing. After much praying and counsel from trusted advisors and such, John had decided to do something a little bigger and more professional than anything he’d ever done before. He had some great songs ready to go, and he’d raised the necessary funds, so he got to work on what he hoped would be his best project ever.

Well, after nearly a year of work, he was so close to being done when – surprise – baby Kyle is born. So the CD was put on indefinite hold.

John had to stop everything and focus on his family and his little precious baby. As an artist, I know that had to be tough. Family vs CD-recording is no contest, but it's still tough to let go of all the work and creativity. I'm sure some part of him wanted to just give up on all of it at some point.

But he didn't. He just waited until the right time. He waited until baby Kyle got better (because we just knew that he would).

Yesterday I got an advance copy of the final, finished project, and it’s fantastic. I'm not sure when it's coming out, but go ahead and set aside $10-12 for it. You'll thank me.

Listen, we all know that John is my friend, so I guess you all expect me to say that his music is great. Fair enough, but this really is a great, great work of worship and art and production. I’m already learning several of the songs to lead in worship asap. More than all that, it just seems like this thing is kind of symbolic. I’m so proud of my friend (and his family) for suffering well thru this very difficult time. And I’m so proud of my friend for turning all that hurt and struggle and pain into something beautiful that will undoubtedly bring comfort and inspiration to the church.

I know, this isn’t my usual “style” around here. I’m not making fun of anything or trying to be Mr Hilarious. But I’m just so overwhelmed with the great victory of it all. For John and Kelly and their sweet boys, life is looking pretty good (finally!). And my prayer, honestly, is that God will give them a time of blessing and overflowing life. They’ve certainly seen the “other side” lately, but God is turning it all into something powerful; something that will change people.

See, I’ve done lots of recording and songwriting in my life. Musicians release new works all the time. But this is the first time I’ve ever been close to something that has been so clearly compelled and fueled by the trials and sufferings and victories of a real family full of real people living real life. I’ve never heard worship songs (and vocal takes) that I know for a fact came from times of deep hurt and question and faith-testing. I don’t know if any of that makes any sense.

I’m just glad, okay? I’m glad to know John and Kelly. I’m glad to see Kyle alive and growing. I’m glad to hear songs of praise born of a praise-filled life. I’m glad John is my friend. And I want you to know about it.

There you go.


Dave said...

"I know, this isn’t my usual 'style' around here."

Well, I appreciate this very much. Unlike many regulars here, I can barely claim to know you. Your lyrics and postings (and essays on the other web page) tell a lot about you and your theology, but don't really help get to know you as a person.

Don't take this the wrong way, but today I started to like you. Not that I didn't like you before, or that I didn't want to like you, but I just did not have a whole lot of evidence either way. In spite of all the typed words we have exchanged, until you actually sit down and share a ... um ... beverage, you never really know.

I hope that all came across OK. It is meant to be 100% positive. The baby Kyle story really makes me happy for everyone involved. Thanks for sharing, and if it is OK with you, I would not mind posts like this anytime your heart is moved.



Johnny! said...

I heard a couple of songs last Sunday. Man, does that record sound good. I haven't heard a whole lot of John's prior stuff, but he seems to be singing differently too. I'll buy one, that's for sure, and I hate music.


Amber Dawn said...

I think Larry said it so perfectly tonight at John's second CD release... this time when John was singing we believed him. I totally agree that John's new CD is one of the best works out right now and so honest and raw it's beautiful!!

Look forward to seeing you in about a month back in Tomball.