Last Sunday night, if you had looked in section 255 of Bank of America stadium in downtown Charlotte, you would have found two homeboys sipping a Pepsi, taking selfies with their phones, laughing at some crazy fans, and basically just having a great time together. My son had given me tickets to the preseason Panthers game with the Chiefs, and we were cashing those in. We had a blast, the team won, I was able to stay awake way past my bedtime and drive us home without incident. What can I say? It was a perfect evening. But there was something a lot better than the game. It was an opportunity for me to spend eight hours with Jesse, my fifth child who will turn 21 in two days.
One of our favorite home movies includes a two-minute solo of Jesse belting out “Bare Necessities” in his pajamas one evening when he was 4 years old. It’s a classic, including his inventive re-scripting, as Jesse sang, “the simple bare neh-whessipees.” We knew then that this little boy loved music, and when he asked for his first guitar at age 8, we did not hesitate. Here we are years later, and through diligence, dedication, and the Lord’s blessing, Jesse has become a skilled craftsman with his instrument and his pen. His song, “Truly Dear” is garnishing attention from music lovers across the nation, and his band, “Love and Valor” is being blogged about by people as far away as California. As we drove to Charlotte for the game last week, I asked Jesse what he thought about all of this and he said that he couldn’t believe he could write a song that people on the other side of the country would be interested in.
I am not surprised. Jesse has always been a keen observer of what is going on around him, and can quickly articulate a response, usually a funny one. He has made us laugh until we are struggling to breathe at the dinner table. I can remember on more than one occasion at a family meal being thankful that there is a bathroom just a few steps away. Most of us have had to run there after a crack by Jesse threatened to turn our mouthful of tea into a family shower.
But Jesse is more than a comedian. He also is the one we could always count on at church or community events to befriend the little boy that everyone else seemed to be ignoring. He cares about people and relationships, and that comes through loud and clear in his music. “Truly Dear” is a love song that already one newlywed couple has used for their “first dance” at their reception. It is simple, sweet and pure, with words and melody that fit together just right. Jesse’s guitar work and vocals, Matthew’s violin, Koehna’s harmony and Darren’s lead guitar move the song past your ears and into your heart. Hey, what do I know about music? Not much. But I know that I love this song and the young man who wrote it.
As Jesse fell asleep on our drive home from Charlotte Sunday, I thanked God for the 4-year-old who shared his love for music with his family, and who still does. I thought about the verse I have on Jesse’s prayer card, the notecard that has things I pray about for him every day: “Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully with a shout of joy.”
I am excited to see how God will keep answering that prayer.
You can see and hear “Truly Dear” and read about the band at loveandvalormusic.com