Anyone who really knows me knows that I’m a music nut: I love all types of music and have really enjoyed discovering new stuff over the last couple years. In fact, when I transferred to my current job, my commute became much longer…which meant more music in the car! Score! So I’m going to take this entry in a little different direction today…
You ever have that song or band that just speaks to you? I love music from the likes of Santana, Stevie Wonder, and even some Metallica from time to time, but over the last several years one band has really stood out to become one of my absolute favorites: a band from South Carolina called Needtobreathe. Way back in the day (2007) when I got my first job out of high school, I used to put on the Yahoo Music player as background noise in my cubicle while I worked. Often I would get a song called “Shine On” by some band I never heard of named Needtobreathe, and I liked it. Then Christian radio started playing the song that really turned people on to the band: “Washed by the Water.”
I remember going to LifeWay Christian Bookstore one day because they were running some sale where if you pre-ordered a Third Day CD, you’d get a $5 gift card to spend. Since I’m impatient I wanted to spend it immediately, but couldn’t find just the right thing to by. Then I saw it by the register: Needtobreathe’s album “The Heat”…for $7 on sale…which meant I got it for $2! So even if it was wack, it would be no big loss lol. This album was different from what I was used to, but I loved several songs on it and over time it grew on me.
Needtobreathe’s music began to become very important to me when I lost my job in 2010. We were down to one income, our first son was only 5 months old, and it seemed impossible to find a new job. Some days I would wake up hopeful, and other days I’d be in an absolute rut. What I would do daily, though, was plug my mp3 player into the tv and jam out to some music with Hudson, who loved to dance. I had this subscription where I could download unlimited music, so I loaded up Needtobreathe’s follow-up album called “The Outsiders”:
This album…man, this album was perfect for me. The songs were incredible, catchy, inspiring, and honest. The one I held to the most during this period in my life was one called “These Hard Times.” The lyrics simply say:
Give me something brighter
Give me something I can see
Give me something vicious
Give me something I can be
Give me all the love and peace
To end these wars
Give me something sacred
Something worth fighting for
It’s clear enough to me
The ugliness I see
Is evidence of who I need
Give me an answer
Give me a way out
Give me the faith
To believe in these hard times
It was such a clear reminded of how I needed God when things were good, but especially when things were rough: when the rent was due, when I was frustrated, when it was day 9 in a row of not finding a single job to apply to. I listened to this album – and this song – over and over and over. Eventually I got the CD and played the mess out of it in my car. To this day it remains my favorite Needtobreathe album and one of my all-time fav albums.
So fast-forward a couple years: I would play some Needtobreathe for the babies while my wife was pregnant…it always made Nolan kick. Smart boy! Now fast-forward a little more to Nolan post-Norwood surgery. One night in my routine of visiting Nolan after work, I decided to bring in some Needtobreathe CDs to play in the room’s DVD player, which would hopefully remind him of being in the womb. Mind you, he still had an open chest and was on a ventilator. The nurse he had that night was a lady I hadn’t seen before…in fact I don’t remember her name, but I asked if it was ok if I played some music for Nolan. She said yes and asked what the music was…when I told her, she said she loved Needtobreathe, and we talked about their music for awhile. But mostly I’d let the music do the work. This time, the song that meant so much was “Something Beautiful,” which is what I often played for him in the womb and the song I’d put on repeat in his hospital room:
The part that always stuck with me says:
And the water is rising quick
And for years I was scared of it
We can’t be sure when it will subside
So I won’t leave your side, no I can’t leave your side
I never wanted to leave that little boy’s side…never ever…and I know, I just know that in spite of his half heart and the surgeries and the g-tube, and the physical therapy, and the speech therapy…that he is going to be special. That this is going to become something beautiful. God, I love that song. The next day as I was entering the hospital, I saw that same nurse leaving her shift. I said hello and I think she could tell I had a ton on my mind. She stopped me and said, “I have to tell you: children are God’s work of art…but a masterpiece always takes more time. He’s going to do great. And I played him more music today, thanks for bringing it in.” And that was the last time I ever saw that nurse…
So this year for Father’s Day my wife surprised me with a wonderful gift…tickets to see Needtobreathe in concert!!! Man I was STOKED! On August 22nd we had a rare night out without the kids so we can see one of my favorite bands in the world:
They were INCREDIBLE! Easily one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. The highlight for me, of course, was when they announced “This is an older song and I hope you’ll sing along,” and dove right into “Something Beautiful.” Being there, listening to the band perform this wonderful song, hearing the other fans sing it, and it just brought me back to those times sitting in a hospital room holding Nolan’s little hand, eyes glued to a monitor, praying hard. It changed my life…and as I watch Nolan grow and progress, he’s clearly something beautiful.
Do you have that song or that band that means so much to you during the tough times? If so I’m curious to know your story: please share in the comments!