It is the writer's privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart.
This post was written Saturday night. Sunday I made the five-hour drive to Nashville with Sue S. and Carrie M., then another 12-hour drive by my lonesome so I could be home for my boys last day of school. There’s much more to say about the weekend, but my 3:00 a.m. arrival time has left me wiped. So today is a recovery day. More to come tomorrow!
I am sitting in my room at the retreat center where our co-writing retreat is held. I’m exhausted. But it’s a good kind of exhaustion. Yes, we sit, write, eat, sit, write, eat, and sit some more, but the work we do leaves all of us wired and tired at the same time. Sleep might come, but it could easily be interrupted by a melody running through my head. Or I might wake up in the night only to be kept up by the struggle to find that elusive word to a lyric that just isn’t quite right yet.
Each night after dinner, all the writers gather to hear all the songs written that day. So far I’ve counted 64 songs written by 48 writers. That’s incredible to me. Over the years, some of the song written at this retreat have gone on to be recorded, sung by artists and in churches all over the world, and played on the radio. But hearing them for the first time, sung and played by the writers themselves, is my favorite way to hear them. They aren’t polished or perfect, but they’re raw and real and special. Wherever they end up, nothing will quite compare to the moment they were revealed to the world for the first time.
Tomorrow we will share one last meal together before we all head our separate ways. Then we will go home and reserve the dates on our calendars for the next retreat. Until we meet again, there will be more co-writes, either in person, or through Skype or email. And we will wait for news from each other about songs written here. Some will be sung in a prison, where my friend Donna spends her Sunday mornings. Some might end up in print, sent off to churches everywhere to be sung by choirs. You might hear some on the radio or at a concert you attend. Who knows? But until these songs find their homes, we offer them up with great expectation and we’ll be praying that God will use them big and small ways to change the world.