PeopleWatching: Lessons from a Madman

Here’s another one of them there thingies I’m calling PeopleWatching – making note of people in my life that influence me. It’s a way to be mindful of and thankful for the folks God places along my path to help me learn.

Such a person, such a folk, such a dude is Madman.

I at least attempt to protect people’s identities when mentioned here, but folks who walk in some of the circles I walk in will instantly know who I’m speaking of. There’s no way to hide it completely, because he of whom is speak is unique. Very unique.

Madman is the son of two longtime and dear friends of ours, and he’s been playing drums as long as most of us can remember, having gotten an early start sitting on his dad’s knee and holding the sticks while dad used the pedals.

And awesomeness ensued. He hasn’t just grown into his gifts, but rather exploded into them.

The best part of all? Along with his musical skill, he is a man of God, walking in His ways. Incredibly gifted, and learning to walk in true faith and humility.

And he both inspires me and kicks my hiney. Totally. And makes me want to throw my bass under a bus. A little. In a good way. Sort of.

I’ll get specific about that kicking thing, since it was a very recent Sunday morning where the aforementioned hiney assault did in fact take place. Madman was doing the drum thing that morning, and I was doing my bass thing. Madman’s dad is my favorite drummer to work with – we’ve been playing together for many years, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. Madman is right up there with his dad, and I love it when I’m teamed up with either of them.

Why all the reverence for the drummers? Because together, bass and drums make up that most awesome force of groove – the Rhythm Section. In order for the music to live, breathe, and rock your socks off, the bass and drums have to lock down the groove – working together to make a tight foundation that the rest of the band builds on.

It is a true saying that “Nothing derails a groove faster than a bass player who’s not taking care of business.” The same can be said of drummers.

So, the two of us are listening to each other intently, to find the groove and lock it in. And that’s when Madman done took me to school…

He intensely listens, pursuing his role in the music with full creativity and full intensity. And should I forget what I’m supposed to be playing at a certain place, he’s listening, notices, and will try to adjust so we lock it down once again.

He doesn’t hold anything back. He doesn’t “phone it in.” He approaches every gig, every song, every moment as a new, living, wonderful thing to savor every moment of.

The same cannot be said of me. And yet, it should.

Whenever I put on my bass, place my hands on the strings, and begin to play, I’m taking my place as a leader of worship. Part of a team, but a leader still. And way too often, I’m not listening. I’m not bringing everything to my part. I’m too passive, not actively participating.

I’m doing something I’ve done many, many times before, and perhaps that’s the danger – too familiar, too used to how it goes. I’m not seeing every gig, every song, every moment as the rare gift it is.

And so, a morning of worship with Madman reminded me to bring it – bring my whole attention, all my passion, all of my giftedness, and put it out there. He challenges me to go all in with the music…

Which is how every part of my faith-as-life should be lived – all in.

Any of this ring a bell with you? Or, as the Bible puts it, anybody else need a reminder to return to your first love? That place of passion and intensity where every moment seems brand new?

Anybody else need a challenge from a Madman? I know I do.

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