Slow Down, Ya Crazy Child.
We sat the whole time at Billy Joel, turns out Bill's demographic isn't much for dancing. Pops couldn't resist the air-keys, though. The lyrics he claimed to not remember came back to him astoundingly well, only adding to his performance. If we were about one thousand feet closer to the stage I think that Billy would've been intimidated by his skill.
I remember thinking that this was exactly the memory I wanted to forever have of my dad. Him playing air-keys and singing Billy Joel off-key.
Pops drove from Star Valley Ranch, Wyoming to Salt Lake City, Utah. He hopped on a plane to Charlotte, North Carolina for a sleepover at my new house. We ate a quick breakfast down the street and then road-tripped to Atlanta, Georgia for us to meet some friends for the concert. I made my expectations known on the way down, "All my concert dreams will come true if I hear just hear Vienna live," I explained, only to add, "Oh and The Way You Are. Also, I need to hear Still Rock n' Roll..." the list trailed on a little longer as the anticipation and excitement built up.
I thought I recorded video evidence of the concert but turns out only my renditions of Billy's songs could be heard on film. Weird how that always happens at concerts, huh? So you'll have to take my word for all the happens next.
Bill played an impossible game that night, naming two of hits then having the crowd cheer for which one to play. He explained he was old and couldn't play them all, which was mostly annoying. "Grace for the old man," I thought. When he asked if we'd rather hear, Just The Way You Are or Vienna the crowd erupted for Vienna.
In Suntrust Stadium Billy Joel led a sing-a-long of one of my favorite songs. It was loud, no one missed a lyric. I will never forget.
I know Billy meant for Vienna to be a metaphor for the rest of your life, you don't have to rush or hurry through being young because the rest of your life waits for you. I remember learning that his dad lived in Vienna, and to me, Vienna always meant somewhere safe. When you mess up, when the pressure of life seem to be too much, when your dreams don't seem achievable Vienna was there. A place to find comfort and security, because Vienna was where his dad was.
Now I'm older I understand that Bill's relationship with his dad was much more complex. His dad left when he was 8 years old and they only reconnected when he was in his 20's. Safety and security weren't as simple as running to his dad.
But I wish it was.
I wish security was as simple as running into the arms of my dad and knowing that whatever mess ups I make, whatever dream knocks me off my feet will always be comforted by his arms. I wish his presence gave me encouragement to continue dreaming.
Yet, in that, I see the most beautiful picture of God. One I really needed.
I picture a little girl running, her curls bouncing, her smile big. There is nothing in this world that could scare her because she is running straight into the arms of her dad. He's holding his arms out wide to catch her when she collapses into them. She won't fall, instead she'll giggle with the pure delight of the safety.
Isn't that you? Isn't that me? We're all in this big scary world, but suddenly it's not scary anymore. We're running straight into the arms of God. He's holding His arms out wide, ready to catch us when we collapse into them.
I'll be the first to admit your dad, if he hasn't already, will let you down. It's a normal, earth soaked thing to happen. Whether it's massive let downs that lead to hysterical tears or small disappointments, no dad is perfect.
But God. But God, is.
He'll always be there when you collapse. When the world seems like too much. When you mess up, screw up, when your dreams knock you down. We don't have to rush or worry,