well folks, i've never done this before but i've had a request for a guest blog appearance. this either means one of two things--that my blog is super cool and other people want to appear on it, or that this person's blog is so lame that no one reads it anymore but he wants people to read this. i'll let you decide. so here you go, a blog from the graham ripple:
Humbly Confident & Confidently Humble
[Walking home on down Mass St. Friday night I exclaimed that our evening was so eventful that it almost made me want to reinstitute my blog. I quickly retracted my statement but somehow convinced Luke to allow me to be a guest blogger on his. Thanks Luke! I'll try to make it utterly amazingness!]
A little known fact about Luke Healy: he's a music hipster. He may not seem the type, but he always seems to be ahead of the curve of what's coming & what's good. A text last week prompted me to join him Friday night at the Jackpot Saloon in Lawrence to see Seabird, Meese & Barcelona. Luke was there to catch Seabird; I was there because I love the Jackpot & always enjoy an evening with Luke.
Seabird was amazing. Great stage presence. Solid music. I am even listening to their album as I type (Ok, I am intermittently listening to Seabird and TLC's Waterfalls... I rediscovered it on my iTunes yesterday and currently find it somewhat irresistible).
Barcelona was also legit. Between them singing happy birthday to a fan & scratching their set list to have the audience vote between songs, I was sold. It also helps that they were really talented musicians.
Meese was also good. Talented musicians. Pretty good songs. A young band but with potential. Tragically though, even during the warm-up, it was apparent that in the most unfortunate of ways the lead singer was trying way too hard.
An elaborate mic-check that involved "clicking" was the first tip-off During their first song, I turned to Luke and commented: "Dude, he's trying too hard." He laughed & then it just kept coming: introducing himself & his brother (Meese brothers) and then introducing the band (Meese) while not introducing the other band members... Multiple self-referential comments about his height... An elaborate description of a leg kick that he normally does while playing the piano sitting down, but since he was standing up... Name dropping their last tour (they opened for the Fray, FYI)... handing us Meese magnets & stickers as we left...
After about song 3, we were ready to hit up the patio and wait for Barcelona. A couple minutes later, Luke and I overheard this girl going on and on about this "D-bag" and then starts referencing all the things I had noticed: the mic-check... the height comments... the name dropping...
Yep. Definitely referring to the same singer from Meese. Being the non-shy guy I am, I quickly joined their conversation to share my pretentious observations.
What I found so fascinating about the experience was the reason I was repealed by Meese' posture was because it was utterly unnecessary. They had no reason to try too hard; they had already proved that they are a legit band: they've signed a record deal, their first album was out last month & now they're on, at minimum, their 2nd tour. And frankly, their last tour was with a really well known band. Their apparent lack of self-confidence made me want to dismiss their success as a fluke or just luck, though really, I think it is neither. In truth, I think they are a good band with a solid sound and lots of potential.
On Sunday evening, a friend reminded me that last summer I referred to her as "humbly confident and confidently humble." We talked about that statement for a little bit and how deeply wrapped up it is with identity: humble confidence & being confidently humble is possible only as you know who you are. As soon as you know who you are, you no longer have to try being that person, you just are. Or, in other words, there is no reason to represent yourself as something, you just get on with the business of being someone. As we talked, I, of course, was reminded of the lead singer of Meese and what I perceived as his trying to hard. Possibly that is just this guy's stage presence & I misunderstood. But more than anything, I wanted to tell him to stop feeling an obligation to be a performer & just be a musician; I have a hunch his music would be much more potent and he would have a lot more fun.
Honeslty though, I do the exact same thing in my contexts: socially, as a leader, as a pastor, as a thinker, as an artist. To be real with that experience I have to evaluate the areas that I am legitimate, successful or talented, but see myself as lacking and therefore represent myself as such. In what ways have I forgotten who I am and therefore am trying way to hard to represent myself as someone rather than just being that person?
As I reflect, I am reminded of the simplicity of being formed in the image of God with his breath within me. There are a bunch of other things that I am as well, but as soon as I forget this simple, core truth, I tend to start trying way too hard.
"And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being."
Do check out Seabird, Barcelona, and yes, Meese. I do think they are all worth your time.
And I will say this, despite our experience with Meese, Luke must have been impressed with them: he definitely had 2 of their magnets on his car as he drove home...