So I'm reading the paper Sunday morning before the kiddos got here. I'm scanning the weekly events chart on page two when I spot it: "Bebo Norman, Shane & Shane in concert Wednesday.." What?!? Bebo? Here? And I'm just now hearing about it? Proof that I no longer spend much time on a college campus.
I first heard Bebo when he was just a college student spending weekends as a Young Life special musician at Windy Gap. We listened to his earnest songs, marveled at the fact that he had acrylic nails on just one hand (the better to pick his guitar with), I bought his tape (yes, his TAPE, still have it somewhere), and all of us high school girls thought he was just the dreamiest. As my female peers and I headed into college Bebo was the epitome of the man many of us wanted to date. Cute, musician, Christian, funny, kind of a dork but really handsome while doing it.
One of my favorite memories of a Bebo show occurred when he was touring with Caedmon's Call my senior year of college. Melanie and I snuck into the back of the Raleigh, NC concert site under the rationalization that Melanie's brother was friends with them all so she had a natural in. I was just along for the ride and surprisingly we pulled it off. Pre-show, we hung out backstage with Derek Webb and Danielle of CC (my singing idol at the time). I distinctly remember trying to play it cool, like hanging out with major recording artists was something I did all the time. I was feeling pretty good about myself that year. I'd lost some weight the summer before, had on a cute outfit and it was one of those rare moments when everything seemed to click and I was completely happy with where my life was. I have a picture of Bebo and I taken after the show and every time I look at it I can remember exactly how I felt that night. Loved, content in my skin, surrounded by friends, and reveling in live music for one perfect evening.
Tonight's show made me very homesick and a little lonely. I sat in that church, on that aisle with some great folks. But they weren't Stuart or Ruthie or Sarah Ferg or Laura. And I wasn't in North Carolina. Still, Bebo sang words of truth and worship. I let his rich, mellow voice wash over me reminding me of so many good memories and numerous moments where Christ meets me in the midst of his lyrics. And as the tears rolled down my face, North Carolina suddenly seemed further away than usual.