I try not to be fake in things… although sometimes my human nature overrides that and I pretend to be someone I am not. When I am excited about something, I’ll let you know. If I’m crabby, I try and keep that to myself because no one deserves that from me. If I’m satisfied, content, and happy, those are things worth sharing. When I’m sad about something, it’s nice to have a friend.
Anyway, today is one of those melancholy days. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad day. In fact, some of my most significant moments in life have come out of being melancholy.
I opened up iTunes today and began listening to one of my folders, “Rich w/ Rich.” I really became overcome with the void that still exists, 11 years later, in the entire music world, let alone the Christian music world, without Rich Mullins. I still believe he is one of the greatest singer/song writers/musicians in the last several decades. That’s my personal opinion, but I don’t think there is any debate when it comes to song writing.
I met Rich on several occasions, but I remember the summer of 1987 most of all. It was a Christ in Youth conference in Michigan. I was a teacher and small group leader that week for about 1500 high schoolers that had come that week. Rich Mullins was there to play and lead worship. They put us in dorms, and Rich and his band were in the room across the hall from me. After breakfast each day, I would go back to my dorm room. Rich would leave his door open and his band would wander in and out, coming in my room, chatting, talking about life, etc. It was a great experience to see into the heart of a man whose passion is to pursue God’s heart.
One morning, Rich and his whole band came into my room with all their instruments… many instruments I had never seen before… most of which they never played on stage. They played and sang in my room for about an hour or so. A week with Rich Mullins and the Ragamuffin band, across the hall, in my room, joking around, and capped off by a one hour concert. One of my greatest memories.
There are thousands of words to express here about who Rich Mullins was, how he impacted me, as well as dozens and dozens of my friends. But, when you’re feeling melancholy, those words swirl throughout your mind, from one brain cell to the next. It’s probably one of my favorite things about who we are as God’s creation… the ability to reflect, remember, and produce joy from that.
If you ever come across a 2-CD set, “20 The Countdown Magazine Remembers Rich Mullins” it is a great set that plays some of the best of Rich Mullins, some brief interviews between sets of songs, and helps you get to know who Rich was. I think the saddest part of today, and yet the beginning of a more focused self, is the last song on disc 2… it’s playing right now.
(on a side note – I just found this site where you can either listen online or download the entire mp3 for free – http://www.20thecountdownmagazine.com/exclusives.php)
Anyway… “if I weep, let it be as a man who is longing for his home.”
1 thought on “Melancholy Monday”
Hey, it’s a Monday again, blue as the sky.
You might not have known it from speaking to him in person–because you knew him a short time–but Richard himself would run into some substantial melancholy. You can sure hear it in his songs, though.
It was a good thing that he shared his darker moments with us as well as the ones that blazed with light. He shared the complete range of his feelings: each of them amplifies our understanding of the human experience.
That, I think, is the purpose of art. God must like art, because I have a feeling God wants us to be as human as we can be.
Richard lived to turn himself inside out and bring others into his heart. He had a brilliant memory, too. I’m writing about his creative process and that’s one his more outstanding traits. He could remember the tiniest incident, the exact imprint it made on his spirit, for decades. He used his memory to advantage when he wrote songs.
I still don’t know why he died when he did, but I do know it makes me wonder. God’s reasons are better than ours. God makes me wonder.
They always called Richard homeless, but I don’t think he is anymore.