Day one: Fresno, CA
It’s a crisp morning after the storm, with the sunlight illuminating the rainwater in the alleyways. The fellas are unloading the truck for the first day of tour. The theatre we’re playing tonight was built when Calvin Coolidge was president. Intricate and majestic, it’s the type of place you couldn’t afford to build today. So much filigree. So many handcrafted features. So much intentionality.
And as I walked onto this old stage this morning, I began to wonder about the stories that took place here. What performances were held in this old theater? What dreams? What heartache? And the story continues tonight – soon this old space will be filled with new amps and drums and lights, with human souls and songs.
I wonder what will history say about us… Were we kind? Were we hopeful? Were we paranoid? Did we take too many selfies? Yesterday, we the people inaugurated a new president, on a stage much larger and more impressive than this one. But I’m reminded that this little old stage in Fresno has outlasted 15 presidents, World War II, and the Great Depression. It will probably outlast our story, as well.
And when I look into my daughters eyes, I’m reminded of the bigger picture. I see a fire that makes me want to sing a better song; to live a better script. I’m reminded that my time playing dolls with her is more important than any stage I’ll ever see. And in this way, the great human story unfolds – with an open-ended script that we write one day at a time. The office, the kitchen, the gas station; these are places that are every bit as important as any stage in Washington DC.
Tonight we will sing our songs in an old theater in Fresno. And before we play a note, you’ll find me praying for strength. Strength to live out a life of love and service. Strength to sing these songs of hope. Because our world is splintered with fear and hatred and pain. Because one individual does not define a nation, we the people do. Because the cynic is just a dreamer with a broken heart. Because love tells a better story than my fears do. Because hope deserves an anthem.