There aren’t many public figures that I have followed throughout my life. It’s just not my thang! Having said that, there is one person that I have respected and followed since junior high. Michael W. Smith (Smitty). I remember mowing the lawn and singing to his music on my Walkman (yeah, I’m showing my age!). I’ve played his music on piano, sang his songs in church and school, and every time anyone left our area (even to go home for the night), “Friends” was played!
I have to say that as I watch Smitty’s career, I stand in awe of how God has used him and how his music has changed. In the 80’s he hired some of Madonna’s choreographers to help him with his videos and now he basically stays behind his piano or guitar. More recently his music has been focused on worship and there is nothing like being in a worship service with Smitty leading it. God shows up every time. He has songs planned in advance, but he rarely sticks to his original plan, but rather let’s God lead the way. (You can do that when you play by ear rather than having music in front of you.)
One of my traditions has been to go to his Christmas concert every year and every year I come out amazed at the talent God has given him, amazed at how God shows up every time, and amazed that after all the publicity, Smitty still seems so humble and gives God all the glory. It’s so unusual these days to find a role model who is consistently focused on the cross, love, relationships, and community. When you read the many articles about him, he’s one of the few people you don’t find any negative reviews about, but rather you find a person who has contributed much in his community and the world.
Greg and I went to Michael W. Smith’s Valentine’s Weekend in Nashville, TN this past weekend. As expected, it was awesome. We saw his debut at the Grand Ole Opry as well as more concerts by Smitty and Michael West. Very fun! What a blessing to be able to meet a public figure who has impacted my life so much. Though there wasn’t much time to have any discussions or anything with him, but between photos I was able to say, “Thank-you, you’ve touched my life”.
Here are some photos from the weekend.