Just Around the Corner…
Growing up in Michigan, you’re surrounded by water, lots of it! And if you’re a true Michigander, you’ll know what I’m talking about when I say Mackinac Island and about being a “Fudgie”. Every state has it’s brags. Michigan has apples, automobiles, the Great Lakes, and the historic Mackinac Island. In fact, the movie “Somewhere In Time” starring Christopher Reeves was centered around the Grand Hotel there. Been there, done that. One of the things Mackinac Island is noted for is it’s awesome fudge in which I indulged in quite frequently, even via mail order (by the way Merdick’s Fudge is the only way to go and I usually order about 5-10 pounds of it and finish it off within a week – that is the sign of a true “Fudgie”). The other thing Mackinac Island is known for is that there are no automobiles, only horses and carriages and bicycles! So naturally, after eating all that fudge, one of my favorite past times on Mackinac Island was to do the big 9 mile bicycle ride around the island. Boy was my butt sore after that ride!
But, it was one of the funnest things I remember doing growing up with my sister. I loved the beauty of the lake surrounding the island, its nature, and the tranquility I experienced there. During our bicycle rides, one of the things I remember us yelling back and forth to each other often was “it’s just around the corner” (until we get back to town). There are many nooks and crannies around the island and in certain spots you’re going uphill and downhill, and in others you’re going against a very strong wind. Although there are maps along the way, one never quite judges the correct time it takes to complete each mile ridden. Not every mile is the same. Some take a lot harder work to ride through and take longer than others. And just when you think you recognize a familiar spot and believe the entrance back to town is “just around the corner” you’re forsaken with more mileage to plow through and you’re barely half way there! But, it’s all a good ride. You learn to just take it all in and enjoy the experience and cling to the thought that after nine miles that at least some of those fudge calories will come off!
I remember many times I often found myself yelling back to my sister who was taking the ride with me, “it’s just around the corner” and I swore we were close! But we weren’t quite there yet. We didn’t see the end of the journey like we thought we were going to see just then. I knew we would eventually get there and I had to believe that my aching legs and butt would soon find relief. My faith has been a little bit like that 9 mile bicycle ride on Mackinac Island at times. Many times I thought if I just keep going, the end is just around the corner. I would see all that I had been praying, believing and toiling for, sometimes for many years. There have been times throughout my life when others had affirmed to me that my musical gifts were meant for “greater things” and that I would be doing “big things” for God. It’s funny, but although I can honestly say those have never been my main goals – to “make it big” or be well known for my music – I still have people saying that to me, and now it’s things like “Why aren’t you signed? What’s wrong with those record companies? You should be famous.”
I remember a few years ago with my big GMA songwriting debut and all the hype about how well-known Christian artists had been discovered at these GMA competitions and walked off the stage and got signed on the spot like Rachel Lampa, Jars of Clay, Nicole Nordeman and Jaci Velasquez. When I first learned I had been chosen to compete in one of only two spots, I thought to myself “I have finally arrived. Someone is finally going to see what I’ve got and help me out here! My record deal is “just around the corner”. I heard about how Stacie Orrico, Jaci Velasquez and Nicole Nordeman had walked these same steps before me, and I was sure something spectacular was about to happen to me! Aside of several people in the audience and my fellow competitors giving me some positive words of affirmation, I walked off the stage to a great big disappointing silence from “the industry”. I was hoping that someone would say something to me. I was hoping that someone would be interested in helping me achieve my big dreams and fulfill my God given destiny. But no one even looked at me. In fact, they cleared the building as fast as they could! Even the crickets. There I stood with my GMA trophy and no record deal, no songwriting contract and I thought that after many years of believing, that my faith would finally become sight and God would fulfill my dreams “just around the corner” of this one last turn. But He didn’t. I was still on the scenic path with an unknown number of miles ahead. So, I have kept going and just doing what I do, taking every new mile God sets in front of me and trying to enjoy the view.
Two CD’s projects later, I’m still trying to hold on to my faith and believe that the answers to my prayers are “just around the corner” for every need I have to fulfill the call of God on my life – if I just keep believing and trusting Him. There have been no shortcuts for me. No silver spoons handed to me like some people who have gotten record deals fresh out of the cabbage patch at the age of 14! I realize that not everybody is going to make it to the big time and you have to keep pedaling and enjoy the scenic route or you’re just taking the ride for the wrong reasons. If you’re always looking for the end of the ride and arriving in the big town, you’ll miss a lot along the way. If you try to take the shortcuts, your stamina to sustain the hard winds ahead will leave you with very weak legs for pedaling through the hard times that eventually hit us all.
There are some people who take this bicycle ride of life and are lucky enough to have a horse drawn wagon come up alongside them to get them places faster than others. But for most people, those chances are few and far between. So you have to just believe that you’ll eventually get to the end of the ride when you’re supposed to and in the manner you’re intended to. If you are meant to get there and be the big #1 blue ribbon winner, it will happen. But don’t sell yourself short if you get there when you’re 85 and never made a name for yourself in this life. Everyone has their own pace, their own path and direction, and there are many great things around every corner to experience. Take your time and enjoy the bicycle ride. Look at the things around you, the people around you that were meant for you to come across. Take in those experiences, even the hard ones when the wind is pushing you back. And whatever you do, don’t stop pedaling…or you just might miss something very beautiful and life changing that was even better than the big finish line you thought you were going for. But don’t forget, you can have your fudge and eat it too. Eventually, your faith will meet its destiny “just around the corner”.