Recently, I got to go to an Andrew Peterson concert at the Community Coffehouse in Danbury, CT.
My dear friend and I didn't realize the show was sold out when we arrived. But luckily, the lady at the door showed us pity, let us pay for tickets that didn't exist, and go in. We were willing to stand at the back, but we were able to find space on a bench at the back of the hall.
I knew a few of the songs he sang that evening, but many of them were new to me because I have a hard time with new music. I'd rather sing a song I already know by heart a hundred more times than hear a new song through even once.
I know it is a problem that I need to work on if for no other reason than for the sake of my poor husband and daughters who have to hear the same albums everyday for a year.
I have been giving myself permission to buy new music for this reason.
So I came home that evening or maybe it was the next day and I purchased three of his albums so I could hear the songs I heard that night again. I have so enjoyed listening and learning the songs.
I think the lyrics of Peterson's songs are so powerful for everyday Christians (like me.) I believe they represent the thoughts, hopes, fears, etc. of so many of us regular saints.
I especially like the fact that Peterson celebrates the mundane things of life, things like marriage and family, that we, even as Christians, don't really esteem like we ought to all the time.
I'll try and link to three of his songs that celebrate marriage and family, in particular.
This song "Planting Trees" celebrates marriage and raising children and all the other good, lasting works that we human beings have the privilege of throwing ourselves into while we live.The portion of the song that says, "Sit down and write that letter. Sign up and join the fight..." is especially powerful, in my opinion.
This song "Dancing in the Minefields" has been one of my favorites for years. I listen to it every year on my wedding anniversary. It reminds me of the beautiful thing I am building by remaining faithful to my husband and nurturing my family diligently. It actually causes me to hope to grow old and wrinkled and slow next to my dear man in the sight of the generations of children (and grandchildren and great grandchildren) who will surround us (and laugh at us, probably).
This song "World Traveler" was obviously written by a man and I bet men can relate to it well. But even women, when they chose to get married, have to chose that relationship over other adventures they might have. Obviously, the larger part of a married person's free time is spent with their spouse in common pursuits, etc. etc. (Anyone who is under the impression that they will be able to have a strong marriage and everything else at the same time and in the same proportion is probably not going to stay happily married long, if they stay married at all.) Of course, you can be married and pursue your other dreams and have other friendships, too. But the song makes the point that we do chose a new dream, a new adventure, when we marry. And that dream and adventure is often the marriage itself.
I hope you take the time to listen to these songs. Andrew Peterson is a gifted songwriter and musician who so often manages to express my heart about things and I am sure many other common saints like me would feel the same way, if there is such a thing as a common saint... Peterson's songs, especially these three, make you wonder if there even is such a thing as common Christian in a common marriage, doing the common work of raising children with just a typical, everyday, old fashioned purpose after all.