I’m sitting at the airport about to fly to Indianapolis where I’ll be picked up and driven to Alexandria. The GVB will spend the next week recording our vocals for our new CD there at Bill’s studio. Y’all pray our voices and spirits hold up.
I’m using MacSpeech dictate. So far, it’s working pretty good. I never thought I’d see the day when I can wear a headset and just talk and it would type what I am saying. But I am seeing that day. This is the first time I’ve ever spoken and watched my words appear magically on the screen.
I remember when I was a child, sitting in class, adding up all my fingers how old I would be at the turn of the century. 42. That seemed so old. Today, as I said back in my chair, with a headset on speaking these words and watching them magically appear in the document on the screen, when I was a childI never dreamed anything this wonderful.
Tomorrow morning I fly to Lynchburg, Virginia. I’m going to see mamma, daddy (yes, we still call him daddy and her mama,) Melissa, Katelyn, Mike and his family, plus friends. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Lynchburg. And only get there about once a year. Mom is always harping at me to come home. But I tell her that’s not my home. Texas is my home. They are the ones that moved away. Plus, I travel all the time they should come see me. She called today, worried about the weather. Wanting to know if my flight had been delayed or canceled. I told her mama my flight isn’t until tomorrow morning. She wanted to know the flight number. So I gave it to her. She quoted it back to me. And got the numbers all wrong. I told her to get up and get a pencil. She said she couldn’t get up. Then we talked about her diet.
This is weird. I think it’s easier to write when you hear the clicking sound of the keys going down as your fingers dance across the keyboard. Plus, when you say the word dance in it types the word danced, you have to say, “scratch word”. Somehow it recognizes that as a command and removes the word you just said. This takes a lot longer than typing.
I’m going to close my eyes now and just speak. I’m not going to look at the screen so if some of the words come out wrong I will look at the paragraph when I’m finished and see which words they were. I don’t even know if that last sentence makes sense. But here goes, today was a wonderful day the weather was clear, a little rainy in the afternoon, but overall it was a perfect day. I watch some of my TV shows that I TiVo while him on the road and watch them when I get home. Okay, that’s all I’m going to say in this paragraph. Now I’m going to look at the screen and see what I said.
Well overall it was pretty good. It should have said, I watched some of my TV shows. And after TiVo it should’ve said, I TiVo while I’m on the road. Other than that I think is a great job.
I’m really getting old. I’m starting to cry a lot. I never used to cry, but I do now. It’s never from being sad, it’s always a half laugh/half cry kinda cry. Like when I was playing The Christ Church Choir version of, Mary, Did You Know?for a friend. My stomach started going in and out real fast like when I was a kid and I was about to cry but didn’t want to.
While we were listening to the choir sing this wave of awe and gratitude swept over me. I remembered a saying I’ve said for years, ‘I would love to crossover, if I can take The Cross over.’ I said it as a joke, but one with a punch. I love those kind. In my heart I’ve always really felt that way. I didn’t want to tell jokes just for the sake of jokes. I love hearing people laugh, but I’d really rather be on the back porch. I love my back porch. It’s the safest place on earth.
I guess that little mantra has turned into a reality. I’m overwhelmed and grateful. The facts are this: neither Buddy Greene nor I have ever written any song that has come close to this one. If Gloria Gaither or Diane Warren had written it, no one would be surprised. But this little gift came through the backdoor. Through me and Buddy. I had hardly ever written a song. I never even had a child. And God let me be part of this song. So I started crying. Thanking God for letting me be the one who got to write that lyric.
Then, I listened to a disco version that played in clubs all across America last Christmas, and I started crying again…
I’m in Nashville, Tennessee. I’m about to board the jet to Cape Girardeau, Missouri; Friday night, Columbus, Ohio; Saturday night, Hoffman Estates, Illinois. If you live in any one of these cities come see us. The Gaither Homecoming Christmas show is amazing!
I made it to the studio in Alexandria, IN. Wes is at the mic singing his part on that old song, ‘That Sounds Like Home To Me.’ Michael has already sung his part. Sounds beautiful. Pray Saints, I’m next.
A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art..
When the Vietnam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.
About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands.
He said, ‘Sir, you don’t know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly. He often talked about you, and your love for art.’ The young man held out this package. ‘I know this isn’t much. I’m not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this.’
The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture . ‘Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It’s a gift.’
The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected.
The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection.
On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel. ‘We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this picture?’
There was silence….
Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, ‘We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one.’
But the auctioneer persisted. ‘Will somebody bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?’
Another voice angrily. ‘We didn’t come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Goghs, the Rembrandts. Get on with the Real bids!’
But still the auctioneer continued. ‘The son! The son! Who’ll take the son?’
Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son. ‘I’ll give $10 for the painting…’ Being a poor man, it was all he could afford.
'We have $10, who will bid $20?'
'Give it to him for $10. Let's see the masters.'
The crowd was becoming angry. They didn’t want the picture of the son. They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections.
The auctioneer pounded the gavel. ‘Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!’
A man sitting on the second row shouted, ‘Now let’s get on with the collection!’
The auctioneer laid down his gavel. ‘I’m sorry, the auction is over.’
'What about the paintings?'
'I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings. The man who took the son gets everything!'
God gave His son 2,000 years ago to die on the cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is: ‘The son, the son, who’ll take the son?’
Because, you see, whoever takes the Son gets everything.
I’ve just finished three concerts in a row, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday in the same auditorium. There are a lot of artists in this town who work in theaters for a month or more at a time. Jim Stafford is celebrating 20 years this year in his theater. His show is hysterical. I always catch it when I come to town. Jim is one of my comic heroes.
But I can’t imagine being anywhere for 20 years. It takes great stamina. About 20 minutes is my limit. I caught myself (in the middle of my concerts on Tuesday and Wednesday) wondering if I’d already said what I was about to say because I was in the same auditorium.
Tonight, I’m back with The Gaither Vocal Band for our Christmas tour. Larnelle Harris is going to be with us, plus who knows? You never do know who Bill is going to have on the program. It’s always a surprise and it’s always good. We will be at The Gwinnett County Civic Center. To check out more of our Christmas concert tour dates, go here.
This Sunday evening I’m doing a concert with Stan Whitmire at The Orange Beach United Methodist Church. This is Andy Andrews’ church. Tickets are limited, but they’re FREE! Check it out!