Day 28: That Time Jon Foreman’s Hair Went In My Mouth
When I went away to college, a lot of life began to shift. Normals became foreign, patterns remodeled. Discomfort became a way of life for that first year and a half. It was a really difficult time to find joy. But I’m so thankful for those days. I don’t think I’d see things the way I do today without those days.
Music has always been a refuge for me. A place I could go when the waves around me got too high. Since the days when dad would roll down the Jeep windows and turn up the [original] JT, music has been my way of figuring things out and making sense of the unclear. Songs of discontentment that made me feel less alone. Songs of real, honest love that questioned the hopelessness that tends to sink in. Songs of life that remind me joy is at our fingertips.
Music was my dearest friend in those first years away, when I had none. I came to know a band called Switchfoot. You may have heard of them.
You’re a needle girl, in a haystack world.
We are right now.
It was 2009 and the album was Hello Hurricane. It kind of changed the game for me.
You’re breathing in,
The highs and lows.
We call it living.
Words of life, of hope, of love. Words of opportunity. Jon was singing the the feels in my heart that I couldn’t articulate: this life is a beautiful gift, let’s choose to live it well and full. Let’s live and breathe and die for something bigger than ourselves.
Their music has molded me and taught me what it looks like to live with a contagious hope. Their music has been the soundtrack to a lot of heart-healing and perspective shifting. And the boys can definitely rock.
In the fall of 2013, a few of us went to a show they were doing in a little beach town down south. It’s always a soul-fueling occasion experiencing these guys live and this time was extra special.
The venue was kind of strange but the crowd was stoked. The lights go down, they step onstage, the opening chords blare through the auditorium:
I’ve tasted fire, I’m ready to come alive.
I can’t just shut it up and fake that I’m alright.
I’m ready now, I’m ready now.
Today is the day. Let’s do this.
Mid-way through the show, Jon comes into the crowd (as per ushe), and walks down the aisle, which I am sitting at the end of.
With the sky wide-open
Like a child, eyes-open
like a child, unbroken
by the wheels gone by
We know who we are
I’m singing loud the words that have become my anthem. Jon puts his arm around my shoulder and sings into the mic, I belt into the air.
They said the fight would break us
But the struggle helped to make
Who we are
The song. The situation. It’s a moment I’ll never forget and I’m glad I have this blurry photo to remember it by. His blonde lock of hair also found its way into my mouth, so that’s an unexpected bonus. All of a sudden I was gifted the unintentionally creepiest story to tell at parties. Not that I have actually ever told this story at a party.
I drove home that night with such a prompting in my heart. And not because the show was incredible, though it was. But because of what I saw and encountered by our fellow human brothers.
The way they interacted with us and others in a cool after show meet and greet – intentional words, laughter, compassion. The way Jon sat on the hood of a car in the parking lot and we all sang songs about hope and Jesus at 11pm. These guys are making hope known in a very tangible way. They are on a big stage but their cause is so much greater – their cause is Love and it’s effecting worlds.
I drove home that night and I thought about my dreams. I want this life of mine to ooze hope and love the way these songs do. I thought about Jesus and the way I’ve watched my friends sacrifice on my behalf, the way I’ve felt them lift my burdens and take them on as their own. I want this life of mine to sell out for that love.
Gosh, I’m grateful for people who are living lives that challenge in the best way. I’m grateful for songs that change everything. I’m grateful for rock shows that are so much more than rock shows.
Jon, I’m sorry for tasting your hair. Maybe a little conditioner will fix up that crunch…