Friday, January 11, 2008

the little kingdom in the corner

yesterday afternoon at the austin city council meeting, my friend dave madden sang a song and received recognition by the mayor that he had named yesterday Dave Madden Day in austin, texas. it's something mayor winn does to promote local arts and especially music. and it was really cool. madden played a new song and it is amazing and beautiful.
then, a few of us went to the other side of the very cool austin city hall building, to austin java, and sat with dave to relish in his moment.
so, melinda says, Hey, you should play your song in here. and dave says, Okay. so melinda talks to TJ the guy at the bar and he says that'd be great. so after my wife and son get there, late because of weird bad traffic on I-35 - even worse than usual, which is saying A LOT - dave gets up to play. no stage, nothing - just sitting by our table in the corner.
melinda doesnt even want to introduce him - it's awkward - and yet, i say, No, sister, do it. this is special. it's dave madden day!
so she stands up, and tells people it's dave madden day, and that he's going to play the song he played at the city council meeting, and here's dave, and we all clap and the people clap and then they listen while they go on eating and talking.
most of them are listening while they eat or have their coffee or whatever. (btw, this isn't a big place - maybe 15 people, ten tables.) in the middle is this big, loud, growing group of women (i find out later that it was a junior league committee meeting or something like that) who get louder and louder.
meanwhile, i'm listening to dave play this song, and it's easily one of the best songs he's ever written - it's holy - it's sacred - it's really, really good - and he's just playing it and singing it with beauty and simpleness; he knows it's a good song and he's at peace.
and melinda is getting pissed off and is thinking about telling the loud table of woman to be quiet. and i'm just transfixed by this song.
madden finishes, and it's beautiful, and, surprisingly, the people clap. i didn't think they even heard. maybe they didn't. or maybe they heard, and it was nice background music. in austin, there are lots of places where musicians play live music while you're just sitting wherever.
and i thought ... this is the kingdom of god. beautiful, and simple, and about real things that matter, and it's happening in the corner, or right in the middle of things, and its music and joy and sadness and hope are there. present. at work. doing their thing. sweetly. powerfully. with faith.
and all around, the world is busy. eating. talking. on to the next thing. checking email. fighting. laughing. thinking about something else. not noticing.
or, noticing. and wanting to know more. and maybe even unplugging a bit, to see what this is about.
or not.

and jesus said the kingdom of god would be like that.
and i can get mad/sad about nobody really hearing dave's song.
and i can get happy that dave's song was there, and believe that maybe it brought joy or hope or beauty or awareness to someone sitting there, and maybe they didn't even know it. and maybe it'll take a long time to sink in. and maybe it never will, and it Just Was.


DM said...

Yes, this is true. And it takes a lot of practice and stillness to realize that these loud, talking people have just as much a right to be there. Maybe they looked forward to that meeting all week. Maybe it keeps them going. Maybe they loved that this positive music vibe thing was happening right next to them, and that's all they needed to get out of it, without listening to specific words. Not that I don't have anger about this sometimes; I have encapsulated those feelings in a different song...and I'll play ya that one sometime.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Dave... You certainly deserve recognition for your talent and hardwork. You and other musicians like you make our community a wonderful place to be in.

Also, thank you for leadership and spirit you show at Journey, your love and caring is evident everytime we get to see you and hear you.

As far as impromptu performances in a crowded coffee house. I suppose its akin to wanting to see the wonders of the Milky Way from the overlight night sky of a Walmart parking lot. You look up a see a bit of a starry night and appreciate it, but your still wanting to get in the store to do your shopping.