SATURDAY, JULY 26, 2014
Traffic was backed up more than a mile. We knew we were going to be late. I was with my granddaughter Hayley. We had anticipated this event for months, having purchased seats on the floor, ten rows away from the stage.
We were going to be close enough to see his freckles!
They called it a “Brad Paisley” concert …
but I wasn’t there to see Brad.
I was there to see Brad’s opening act — Scotty McCreery, an unassuming boy from North Carolina with short hair and a plaid cotton shirt!
How I admired that young man, even though I had never met him!
I had noticed something special in that boy since I first laid eyes on him as he stepped before the American Idol judges a few months earlier.
Week after week, during Season 10, Scotty’s deep, rich vocals deeply moved his audiences and frequently raised them to their feet in applause.
But, more than his incredible pipes …
… this boy had humility.
That is what won my heart!
Kindness oozed from him. His eyes twinkled.
Scotty was 100% genuine…
… every single time.
As Scotty made it through one cut after the other, I teased my 17-year-old granddaughter about “snagging” him as a boyfriend, amidst giggles and protests!
She was a follower of Jesus.
I was “sure” he must be a follower too.
Hayley was a country girl.
He was a country boy.
They were close to the same age.
Why not??? They were clearly a match made in heaven!
During the televised competition, I looked forward to Wednesday and Thursday nights, and was always happy with the results …
… because Scotty always made it through!
He took the judges’ criticism with a great attitude which endeared me to him all the more.
What a sweet spirit! And even though he didn’t speak openly about his faith, I noticed that he always wore a cross (not that that is a guarantee) … but I “saw” Jesus in him.
He didn’t appear to be over-the-top “driven” to win the title.
Rather, he seemed to have a give-it-or-take-it attitude while enjoying his season in the sun.
He was just …
When he acknowledged his grandma in the middle of one of his songs, it reduced this grandma to tears! What kind of teenager recognizes his GRANDMOTHER at a cut-throat competition on national TV???
That did it! I made it my personal ambition to help him win this thing!
Each week, I voted over the telephone and then cast my ballot over the Internet multiple times!
It worked! Scotty won! And I felt like I had singlehandedly made it happen!
Now, here I was … caught in bumper-to-bumper traffic that was not budging … waiting to see this wholesome country boy whom I had grown to respect and admire.
We could see the stadium from where we sat …
…there on the road in motionless traffic.
The thought of being that close, yet missing the opening act, drummed up anguish unspeakable!
I had to restrain myself to keep from jumping out of Hayley’s Bronco, leaving her behind to deal with the traffic congestion, and making a mad dash over the fence and through the car lot to the arena!
What a tragedy to be this close to seeing Scotty, and then to be stuck with “just” Brad Paisley! (No offense, Brad!)
Well, I didn’t desert my granddaughter — that wouldn’t have been nice.
What seemed like hours later, we pulled into the parking lot, found a spot, and dashed to the entrance.
When we entered the main floor, there was Scotty, as big as life, singing his heart out. We found our way to our seats and began to clap along to the beat. Electricity was zipping through the air — other people appeared to love Scotty as much as I did!
Because of the traffic jam, and the lateness of our arrival, Hayley and I missed most of the pre-show. Scotty sang one more song after we sat down, and then it was time to be graced with Brad’s presence. Brad put on a good show. The audience roared throughout his performance. Feeling somewhat despondent that I had missed most of Scotty’s time, it did my heart good to see Hayley enjoying the guy whom she had gone to see.
But there was a great surprise waiting for me! Just as Brad was winding down his show, he asked us if we wanted to see Scotty again. Well, as you can imagine, I perked up! Out came Scotty! He and Brad sang a couple of duets together and really worked the crowd by trailing up and down the runway.
We were so close! Just a few seats away from the runway!
THIS is where the story gets GOOD!
Scotty and Brad outdid themselves, thrilling the audience by singing up a storm! At the end, they both took trips down the runway — right next to where we were sitting! I couldn’t believe my eyes as I saw Scotty coming right toward me with his hand out! Yes, he did! He swept his hand across the flood of hands that were outstretched, and he was heading my way! My heart began to race! I hope he touches my hand, I thought as I stuck mine way up there to ensure it would happen. The thought occurred to me that I was being ridiculous, acting way out of character, but I quickly dismissed it and stretched my hand even further, waving it into the air.
Sure enough, it happened! Scotty McCreery touched MY hand! His fingertips felt so … well … so HUMAN! I was momentarily delighted beyond words. But then …
… it hit.
Wait a minute, Scotty! Come back here! I’m not like all these other people! I drove all the way to Boise not to see Brad, but to see YOU! You can’t just walk away like that! I VOTED for you as many times as I could to help you win! I like you for the sweet boy you are inside — not just because you are a good singer! I deserve more than a token brush of the fingertips! If you only knew!
Then, in the cacophonic din of the roaring audience, I heard a still, small, inaudible (yet very real) voice from deep within my soul.
The Voice said, “Yes, I know. It hurts, doesn’t it.”
What? Is that you, Lord?
“I sing over you while you sleep.
I kiss you at dawn with the rising sun.
I send angels to keep you from stumbling throughout the day.
I extend grace each time you fall short of My glory.
I adopted you and have given you an inheritance. You are my beloved daughter.
I saw you crying the other day. I lifted your head and dried your tears.
You know that delicate yellow bird that surprised you in the garden? I sent that winged friend to delight you.
Remember the tiny earring that has been missing for two years? I led you right to it the other day.
I put your messed-up life back together. Remember?
Am I not faithful to give you the exact verses you need to help navigate life when you open your Bible searching for direction?
I watch your comings and goings throughout each day with great interest. You bring me joy, precious daughter, when you aren’t even aware of my presence.
And I hold you close to My heart as you sleep, humming a nocturnal melody in the moonlight of your room … for I never slumber.
Oh, my daughter, how I long for more than a ‘token touch’ from you!”
So there, in the midst of thousands of cheering fans, I heard God’s voice … and something changed in me.
“Grammey! Grammey! Did you see that??? Brad Paisley just touched my hand!!!” Hayley screamed enthusiastically.
“Yes, honey,” I smiled, hugging her and looking past the crowd, seeing only my Savior’s face. “I saw that,” I whispered, as we turned and moved along with the flow of fans who were exiting the stadium.