on abundant life and living a good story

Sometimes, freedom sneaks up on you in highly unexpected places.

I texted my sister last night after we got to the venue and began putting together our set.

I’m about to sing folk music in a biker bar.  I’m sure you can appreciate the weirdness of this situation.  I can appreciate the fact that I already know you’re laughing, shaking your head, and saying, “Only my baby sister.”

I had been standing there, staring around the room and feeling intimidated by all the black leather, thinking that our set list would be better filled with Lynrd Skynrd than Mumford and Sons.  At some point, I absentmindedly started thinking through the lyrics to “Free Bird,” just in case the worst case scenario came to pass.

And in that moment, the whole thing just struck me as hilarious.  Because last week, I was talking to God and myself about how I want to live a good story, especially during this what-now season.

Life just feels a little heavy lately.  I feel like I’m not living much of a story, you know? All the days right now kind of tend to blur together in an endless cycle of work and sleep and social media and television.  Which isn’t exactly a life that’s going to give me much to reflect on as an octogenarian.  Or a life that’s going to serve anyone else to any great degree.

And then, there’s this biker bar, and a set list filled with folk music.  And suddenly, while I’m sitting there at the table, that place started to look like an oasis.

I am deeply afraid of leading a boring life.  And yet far more than that, I’m deeply afraid of living an insulated life.  A life fully dependent on structure and routine and characterized by days spent with the same kind of people who all value the same kind of things that I do.  A life spend avoiding people whose personalities and lifestyles are offensive to me, regardless of the fact that the ministry of Jesus reflected something polar opposite to that avoidance.  A life marked by prioritizing safety over faith, comfort over calling, morality over making disciples.

And so you find yourself standing at a bar, talking with a guy who’s consumed a lot of whiskey and done a little time about music and life, and you start thinking that maybe abundant life looks a lot different than you’d ever have pegged it for.

A snippet of abundant life from a biker bar.


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