FAITHFUL LIVING: People change; God is constant

“Hey, what’s going on in here? It’s way too loud in here, Mom, and Dad is playing an air guitar!”

I wish I had dug out my camera to record the reactions of our three children, only my husband and I had not planned ahead. Our spontaneous dive into such youthful behavior had been brought on by the sounds of Gerry Beckly and Dewey Bunnell, better known as “America.” Think back and you will probably remember them —they were that ‘70s duo who beautifully married folk and country sounds with good old rock ‘n roll, much like the Eagles and Jackson Browne.

My husband had just slid our “America” CD into the stereo, turned up the volume, and presented me with concert tickets when the kids arrived for dinner. I like it when we can surprise them with such antics — it introduces that moment of surprise when they honestly believe they have us all figured out.

Instinctively I grabbed a metal whisk from the utensil drawer and began singing words I had not uttered in nearly two decades. I laughed at my own silly antics and privately wondered why I could easily sing the lyrics to “A Horse with No Name” into my impromptu microphone but find it necessary to stick Post-It Notes as reminders in places like my bathroom mirror and the computer monitor for those everyday tasks needing my attention.

I experienced sweet anticipation at the thought of joining other Baby Boomers at the concert, for I did not even know America still performed and was about to release their 20th album — now 30 years later. I also savored the idea of a night out with my husband, to reminisce and celebrate the sounds that molded our courtship. It all sounded too good to be true.

And alas! The big night arrived and it was with mild amusement that I watched the middle-aged, graying crowd seat themselves and eagerly glance through their programs. Maybe it was the beauty of Bellingham’s Mount Baker Theater — built in 1929 — or the knowledge that we would soon feel the beat of the drums inside our chests and be able to mouth the familiar lyrics as we sat in an audience of devotees. Maybe it was the fact that my husband and I could hold hands without comment from our kids or finish a sentence without interruption. Whatever the case, we nearly vibrated with energy and speculated as to how the band had aged and if their music could produce some old, familiar feelings deep within us.

We were not disappointed.

Before we knew it the sweet sounds of America filled the theater and I realized that what I saw was much more than a bunch of 40-something guys still rocking after all these years. I saw longevity and loyalty, staying power and long-term success, obviously produced by a true love of music as well as the continual support of fans that grew up with them.

But what surprised me most was suddenly seeing myself as a young girl just starting out in life, a girl who had begun a relationship with God the very year Beckley and Bunnell won a Grammy award.

I am now aware of how simple it all was, but at the time life did not feel simple. I was living on my own and trying not only to perform well in college but live happily in a coed dorm with a diverse group of students. Back then, a group of us proclaimed Christians would meet each week for song and Bible study in the study room at the end of the hall. Faith felt rather political, rather cliquish back then. I felt cool and passionate about my beliefs and I wore faith like a badge of courage.

God has remained a part of my life all this time, only He is much more personal now. And although He has not changed, I have in so many ways. I not only want the Lord in my life these days but I need Him. I want God to help me to be a good parent, energetic community member and supportive force to my friends and family members. I need God to hear and respond to my cries when I long that He give me courage and clarity into situations that create regular fear and worry.

My husband and I have changed during these 30 years. We’re certainly graying like the rest of the crowd. But a few things will forever stay the same: good old rock ‘n roll and a faithful God who chooses to interact with us — no matter what our situations or the conditions of our lives.

Freelance writer Joan Bay Klope is on vacation; a new column will return next week. Until then, enjoy one of her best columns.

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