Around 25 years ago1 give or take a year, my wife and I sat in an intimate little “theater” in Euless to hear a CCM artist that had been making his name for a couple of years. His fourth album had just come out a few weeks prior, and a couple of hundred of us were gathered to hear him perform. I don’t remember him having a band with him, but then again it was 25 years ago, so draw your own conclusions.
A year-and-a-half later, we were in pretty good seats at Reunion Arena (look it up, kids) due to us knowing the manager of the local Christian bookstore (look it up, kids), waiting to see the same artist. In a little over a year, he’d gone from playing the CCM equivalent of clubs to playing arenas, and this time he most certainly had a band. Steven Curtis Chapman, SCC2 to his friends (or maybe just Toby), had hit the big time.
He was big time for a decade or more, but these days his sons2 make a bigger splash when they release an album than he does. His latest came out yesterday, and Jesus Freak Hideout didn’t even bother to review it. No matter; when you’ve listened to someone for 25 years, you listen whether there are reviews or not.
As almost happens with Mr. Chapman, one of the songs immediately hit a nerve. It actually hit the same nerve that was twanged a few days ago when news of Angela Lansbury’s passing hit the airwaves. Angela appeared in her first film during WWII (look it up, kids), and in-between managed to cram in five Tony’s, a performance in The Manchurian Candidate that would have won her an Oscar in any year that Patty Duke wasn’t playing Helen Keller, and approximately seventy-five Emmy nominations for a little amateur detective TV show you might or might not have heard of (say it with me: “look it up, kids!”).
The article I read had several tweets from people who had worked with her before, sometimes decades ago, going on and on about how wonderful she was. And I thought that it was a little late for them to be going on like that, and wondered if any of them had told her that while she was still alive. Like, recently.
In one of my favorite “small” (independent) films, Waking Ted Devine, there’s a scene where, for reasons you’ll have to watch the movie to discover, a man gives a eulogy at the funeral for his best friend who, he knows, is sitting alive and well in the audience. The two of them are seventy or thereabouts, have grown up together in a little village and have been best friends their entire lives, and for three or four minutes, the man speaking says all of the things about and to his best friend that we almost never say until it’s too late. It’s a very sweet scene in a very funny film, and it hit me watching it that we should all do that—tell the ones you love now the things you’ll say then. In other words, don’t wait.
SCC2’s song is called “Love Now”, and he has the same thought.
Don’t wait until the clock runs out
All you’ve got is today
Right where you are
For just this reason, I’ve had a bedtime routine with the WCG for most of his life. “You know what?” You love me. “You know what else?” Jesus loves me. “You know what else else?” You love me. He doesn’t think much of this routine, but that’s neither here nor there. He may doubt some things as he grows older, and those things might even include the two things I tell him, but it won’t be because he didn’t hear it, and hear it consistently. (As well as observing it lived out, hopefully.)
Who needs to hear how you feel about them? Don’t wait. Love them, tell them, now.