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She looked to be about nine. Blonde hair. Cropped just below her earlobes. I took her hand.

"I'm Shaun, what's your name?"

She told me shyly, handed me a CD and asked me to sign it for her.

"Sure, I'd love to...Who are all these people with you?"

She introduced her three little brothers and her smiling aunt to me.

The oldest of the boys, a brown eyed seven year old, piped up as his name was said. "Today's my Dad's birthday."

"Really," I said. "Well, where's your dad?"

"In Heaven." And the smiles of the four siblings relaxed into straight lines.

"How long has he been there?" I regretted asking the moment the words fell out. I didn't know where this was going. There are only six basic directions an after show conversation usually heads: autograph, how old are you, where you're from, where are you headed next, wife and kids, prayer request or other need. I've mastered them all. I'm a professional. A professional now stumped, now drawn out of the routine and into the life of this little boy. My dad's in Heaven never comes up.

"About a month and a half."

I handed the signed CD back to his big sister while their Aunt explained what had taken place in their family over the last six weeks. A stranger, a man, put his arm around her as she told us the tale. The line waiting to talk to me and have something signed, stood patiently, leaning in, eyebrows furrowed by shared pain. And eventually smiles returned - by the simple miracles of time passing and conversation.

"Thank you for making their dad's birthday a special celebration," the aunt said as we hugged good bye. "Love your kids," she whispered over her shoulder as they walked away.

And I'm reminded once again that your job, no matter how great you think it is, sucks compared to mine. I don't mean to ruin your day, but I get to do this every week. I play some chords, sing some words, and then the good stuff happens: I hang out with people. I hear the most amazing stories. I meet people who have been healed. I get hugged by little kids and told I'm loved by them. I have conversations with skaters, moms, stock brokers, painters and astronauts. I get prayed for and get to pray for people in tremendous pain and trouble. I listen to eight year olds tell corny jokes and I laugh. I get to feel, every night, like all that stuff about Christians being family because we believe in the same God is actually true.

And tonight I got to be the entertainment at a dad's very important birthday party in Lincoln, Nebraska thrown by his four kids. And just being together we all got a taste of the world he lives in.

I told you. My job is better than yours.

Tomorrow: New Orleans.


Blogger GrovesFan said...

Thanks for sharing. What a great opportunity you have to touch and be touched by so many. I know my kids love seeing you and praying for you (although Mary likes Brian better!).


Blogger Kathryn said...

I think we all have great opportunities every day, on the job and off. .

thank you for sharing this - it was very touching.

Blogger Me said...

Hey Shaun. That was a great story. We just started a band with the sole purpose of taking "The Message" out beyond the walls of the church. I can't wait to talk with people about who they really are & not the masks they put on. Ciao!

-Mark Edington

Blogger marianne said...

I'm glad you shared this sweet story. Not only do you have a great job, you are very good at your job. :-)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey thanks so much for coming out to lincoln that night... i really had a great time...

Jeremiah Kuhns
100.7 KGBI



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