amy courts: en route

The Heights of Success
June 12, 2009, 9:16 am
Filed under: Activate, Culture, Missions, Music

Yesterday morning, as I ate some cereal, drank some (delicious) coffee, and perused Little Rock’s local-yokel magazine, Soiree, reading about “women to watch” in the area, I got to thinking about success.

I suppose it was a natural progression of thought springing from the definitions given by the watchable women, most of whom agreed success was tied either to greater levels of wealth or power in the ever-changing, dangerous organism that is capitalism at work.

And perhaps it had a little to do with the fact that I was waking up from a two day stint in Little Rock, where I gave two of what I’d consider my best concerts ever.

Neither was particularly “well attended.” One was a private concert for the men and women served by Little Rock’s Union Rescue Mission, and followed a couple hours of serving them dinner and hearing some incredible life stories. Including the kiddos, there may have been fifty people hanging out on the lawn in the balmy evening heat to listen to me sing and talk. The second concert was  URM open to the public but predominantly attended by young people ranging from 13 to 16 in age. Again, when all was said and done, numbers counted and all, there were probably about 50 of us hanging out for the evening.

But wow. As I drove away this morning, I felt pretty successful.

After the concert on the lawn for the URM, one woman wrote and passed me a note about her experience. She said she couldn’t explain it in a conversation, because she’d end up crying her way through. But in her note, she spoke of the lost years she lived as a prostitute and drug addict, which were odd juxtaposed to her upbringing under a Baptist minister. She appreciated what she called “fearless” songs; songs that look at the darker, harsher, deeper sides of life – sides so many people can’t relate to, much less discuss, much less publically. She appreciated the “real”ness of it. And while thanking me for being usable in Lord’s hands, I was quietly thanking God for affirming me and my passion. And what a gift it was to go back to the Dorcas House today and spend a bit more time with those women who spend their days overcoming.

autographarmsThe second concert was equally encouraging, though in different ways. Like I said, it was for youth. Teenagers who don’t have a lot of money to either buy CDs or join Mocha Club. Teenagers who typically don’t appreciate the deeper things as much as we old soul’s do. Teenagers who might have been humoring their youth pastor by sitting quietly through my concert. But these guys…they were fun. They were generous. And they gave of themselves. They came and served with me at the URM. And after the concert, they gave up their money for bigger things. Many of them joined Mocha Club, and set the age of selflessness just a couple years younger. Many wanted to buy CDs and purchase jewelry or bags created by women rescued from sex slavery, but only having the money for one, chose to be part of the rescue efforts. And a few of them even let me sign their arms…and thought THEY got away with the best end of the deal.


As I look back over the last couple days, I feel lucky. I feel affirmed. I feel hopeful. I feel an overwhelming sense of awe as leaves take form on the branches of trees that were mere seeds in my palm just a few years ago. And I know I’m moving in the right direction and tilling the right soil when I am part of the passing out of Hope to people who know to grab hold of it, or am able to facilitate – or just watch! – young people stepping into the role of giver while most of their peers remain content simply to receive.

Indeed, money or no money, tour bus or no tour bus, arena or no arena, fame or no fame…Tonight, I am satisfied in my soul and in want of nothing.


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