I was about halfway through a 6 week Christmas tour with The Oak Ridge Boys. We were playing beautiful sold out theaters and performing art centers out on the west coast. I should have been happy, but I was going through something I'd never felt as strong before. This was the big time, and there I was..feeling so unfulfilled. I was going through a bout of self-doubt, loneliness, and depression that could have only been brought on by the Evil one. I missed my family and I wanted to go home. I questioned my gift, and even thought about giving up on music altogether.
Around 4:00 that afternoon I went in to check my gear. I thought I was alone in this big beautiful empty performing arts center when I saw a man sitting a few rows back. I said "hey man, I'm sorry, is the stage dark"? (a phrase often used at union halls where they take a break and no one is allowed on stage or they will be fined). He said "Don't you have enough light around you?" I said "yeah man, I just didn't want to be fined, or for The Boys to be fined." He came up to the front of the stage and told me he liked the drums and I immediately said, "well I am not just a drummer... I play other things and I sing. You won't be hearing what I really do here on the Christmas show tonight There isn't a whole lot of drumming going on" (It was a rather subdued set as far as drums go). He said, "Don't talk about your gift in a negative light". There went that word again… LIGHT. We exchanged pleasantries and I went on my way. Unbeknownst to me, he'd followed me to the lobby where I was putting out my CDs to sell after the show, which trust me, is a very hard sell when the people don't get to hear you sing. I turned around and he startled me. I didn't hear him come into this huge marble floored lobby. He said "I didn't mean to frighten you, but I felt led to speak with you about something. You need to quit playing for the ones who write your check....and you need to stop playing for the people that pay good money to SEE the ones that write your check. Why don't you PLAY FOR THE ONE WHO GAVE YOU THE GIFT"! It floored me. I was shaking and holding back my tears when I asked him, "Are you an angel"? and he just smiled. I told him the Book I read said to 'be careful to entertain strangers because some have entertained angels unaware'. So I asked him again, "Are you an angel"? and he said, "No man, I am just a messenger". He was my angel that day. I went straight back to my drums, took out a Sharpie and wrote "play for The One who gave you the gift" on the snare drum. It got me through the rest of the tour with a vigor, and became my new motto. Each time I've changed the skin on my drum the first thing I do is write it on there again. I may not know until I get to heaven if he really was an angel, but I do know for a fact who sent him, and His timing was perfect. God puts people in our path when we need them most. As a side note, we were in Cerritos, CA - just outside of L.A.,…."The City Of Angels".