Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Dinner Guest

You know that familiar icebreaker? If you could create your perfect dinner party, who would you invite to be the guests? Your response might be something like Andrew Carnagie, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, and Jimmy Carter (Okay, maybe not...). Well, a few years ago I had the opportunity to share a meal with one on my "dream" guest list before I even knew who he was.

A last-minute invitation to a local concert led me to share a table, a chicken casserole, and a conversation with singer/songwriter Andrew Peterson. As my friend and I waited for him to conclude his pre-concert soundcheck, I perused the merchandise table and realized I wasn't prepared for the coming encounter at all. However, Peterson was immensly kind, utterly humble, and deeply down to earth.

Dinner led to my first Peterson concert, which wowed me and wooed me and left me feeling filled and hungry at the same time. One concert has now led to five, and I know I am not alone. I know that he has many devoted fans who cherish any opportunity to see him perform live. I count myself among them.

What is it about Peterson's music that captures me so? Well, he may not look like the two artists I've celebrated in the prior two posts (give him 40 or so more years), but he has the same wise soul, the spirit of a storyteller, and the ability to awaken through his art.

He seems to share the lens through which I try to see the world: everything is spiritual. And he explores and reasons and wrestles and celebrates in his music in ways that leave me thinking, rejoicing, and agreeing with a wholehearted and hopeful "Yes!"

Just as I can gaze upon a work by Wyeth or ponder a powerful sentence of Berry with a silence and stillness that not many artists invite me into, I can enter into such a place with the music of Andrew Peterson. It invites me to live this line from Wendell Berry: "For a time, I rest in the grace of the world, and am free."

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