Dear “Real” Christian Man,
As the one year death anniversary of Tom Petty has just passed, I was reminded of an interview I read with Tom Petty in a music magazine. The interviewer asked Tom what seemed to be a nearly impossible question to answer. “Which song you’ve written to you is the most meaningful?” HUH??? How can a songwriter that has written hundreds of songs possibly answer this question? From the party anthem of “American Girl”, the humourous “Into the Great Wide Open”, the rebellious nature of “I Won’t Back Down”, to the haunting “Don’t Come Around Here No More.” How do you pick just one? Tom’s response to this question was the less popular song “Face In the Crowd.” He said that at the time he wrote that song, it fit perfectly into the place he was at that point in his life. That song has always been one of my favorites, but I was surprised by his choice.
About a year and a half ago, Tom Petty was playing in my town. At that point in my life, I had pretty much seen every band I ever wanted to see live. But I’d never seen Tom and I really wanted too. I remember watching Tom and the Heartbreakers Super Bowl performance and thinking, “Wow….that’s just pure talent.” No bells and whistles. No crazy dancers running around. No pyrotechnics. Just a bunch of great musicians doing what they do best. The tickets for the show in my town were very expensive. Not completely crazy, but a little much for my budget. As much as I wanted to go, I decided I just couldn’t afford it and I’d catch Tom the next time he came to town.
Well, no I won’t. Sadly, Tom died a few months later. Myself, and the rest of the world, would never again have the chance to see this incredibly talented performer ever again. I regretted no spending the money to have that experience. When this happened, I was reminded of a a time when a very similar thing happened.
Back in the 90’s, a very good friend of mine invited me to go see Stevie Ray Vaughan. This same friend and I had seen Stevie together a few years earlier and it was one of the best times ever. The show was about an hour or so from where we lived. I was in my late teens, my friend in his early twenties. We drank “road sodas” all the way to the show, laughed, smoked, played music and just had a blast. Then we were treated to an amazing show. I’ve been fortunate to have seen many of the best guitar players that have ever played rock music. From Van Halen, to Yngwie, to George Lynch, Tony Iommi, etc, etc. But I’ve never seen anyone, and I mean anyone, play a guitar like Stevie Ray Vaughan. Mind Blowing doesn’t come close. It was like the guitar was a part of his body. His playing looked effortless – like he wasn’t even trying. His sound blew your hair back and his groove was just infectious. Amazing doesn’t say enough.
So when this friend invited me to go see Stevie again, as much as I wanted too and similar to the Tom Petty excuse, I didn’t have the extra funds to make it to the show. That being said, I decided not to go and told myself, I’ll catch him next time. Well, no I wouldn’t. Not long after the show Stevie played in my town, he was killed in a tragic plane crash. Stevie was no longer with us. As sad as this was, even worse for me personally my friend that invited me to the show also died. For the sake of saving a few dollars, I missed out on having one last great time with my good friend and seeing this legendary guitar player one more time.
So where do we draw the line between spending a few extra bucks, saving for our future, or living like you only go around once and you can’t take it with you? I can tell you, as I get older, I am more inclined to go with “you only live once” mindset. As I think back on the things I’ve missed out on in life because I wanted to save a few bucks…well, it bothers me. There’s trip I could have gone on, concerts, dinners, and a host of other things that I didn’t do because I was more concerned with saving for my future. Well that future is now my present and I’m no better off!
I’m not saying we should live with reckless abandon with no thought of the future at all, but I am going to be taking the advice of Joyce Meyer a lot more to heart when she says, “eat the cookie, buy the shoes!” In other words, go the the concert, take the trip, have the dinner – no regrets!