My An Arkie's Faith column from the September 27, 2023, issue of The Polk County Pulse.
The windshield wipers beat furiously as they tried in vain to keep the windshield clear. Flashing sheets of water crossed the road as the rain came down in waves. My hands gripped the steering wheel, maybe too tightly, and I thought, “Why am I driving to Fort Smith through this terrible storm?”
A few days earlier, I learned that a favorite group, Arbour Season, would be playing in the area. I messaged them to get more information, and they replied, “We are playing at something called the Bakery District in Fort Smith. Is that too far for you?”
“What time is the concert,” I asked.
“6 p.m. Thank you so much again for reaching out! Hope to see you!” was the reply.
So, I was driving through a massive storm to see Arbour Season in concert. I had been listening to their music and watching their YouTube channel for months and was excited to see them. They describe themselves as “an indie/folk husband and wife duo who draw inspiration from the incredible adventures we experience all across North America in our converted school bus/home. Our unique journey inspires the ambient folk sound that captures the serenity of the Western vistas, the rhythms of the Eastern coastlines, and the brilliance of the national forests. We express our passion for life through music and invite you to travel with us by listening to the intricate instrumentation, layered harmonies, and lyrics that tell our stories.”
As the rain continued to beat down and the black highway seemed to disappear beneath the onslaught, a message from Shane of Arbour Season pinged on my phone. My wife read the message to me. “Hey! I’m going to keep you posted, but we just arrived at the venue, and there was a mix-up with dates or something, and they didn’t know we were going to be here today. This was a House Concert that was being put on by another girl, and she wanted to host it here at the district, but I think they had their information mixed up. There is still a possibility we could be playing tonight, but it’s unsure at this moment.”
“What should we do,” I thought. “I don’t want to continue driving through this storm if there isn’t a concert.” We pulled off the road to decide what we should do. My phone pinged with another message from Shane. “This has not been promoted at all, so I’m thinking no one is going to show up. But we are thinking about hanging out here for a little bit and having some dinner. Maybe we can all catch dinner together. We definitely want to meet you guys while we are still here in Arkansas.”
We decided to continue to Fort Smith to go out for dinner. After several more messages back and forth, deciding on a time and location, Shane texted, “Ok… sooo. We still may be able to make dinner, but we just found out we have a flat tire, haha. So we are now taking it to get looked at. That shouldn’t take too long, though, I would think!”
After several more messages back and forth, Shane told us that while the tire was being repaired, he had dropped Emily and the kids off at the mall. There is a food court with a kid’s play area right in the middle. He wanted to know if we could meet there so the kids could play while we eat, hang out, and talk.
We met at the mall and enjoyed visiting and eating some of the worst Chinese food I had ever eaten. When it was time to go, I asked them where they were headed next, and they said they were driving back to Mena. We had a good laugh about the irony of driving in a horrible storm to go to a canceled concert and then eating at a mall food court when we were both returning to Mena.
That rainy day mall food court meet-up with Arbour Season was a year ago. I have continued to follow their adventures on YouTube. I was excited when I was recently invited to an Arbour Season house concert.
After spending time with them on the crazy no concert, flat tire, lousy mall food court food day last year, it was wonderful to finally hear Arbour Season in concert. The concert was everything that I hoped it would be. The music was excellent, and the banter made everyone in the audience feel like they were lifelong friends.
When the lilting guitar picking of the song “Arcadian” began, I silently mouthed the words. “I saw you today when I wasn’t looking. There was a sway in the trees above that told, told me you were near. And I heard your voice when I wasn’t listening. There was a sweet noise I’d never heard before, singing in the breeze. Oh, the pain, oh, the needless pain we bear. Oh, this world so full with all its cares. You made me innocent again. And I thought I found you, but you found me. Oh, I thought I found you, but you found me.”
Arcadian is one of my favorite songs, and I love the line, “I thought I found you, but you found me.” Sometimes, we think we have found God, but the Bible tells us that Jesus “came to find lost people and save them.” Luke 19:10 (NCV)
This idea is best shown in the story Jesus told in Luke 15:4-6 (ICB): “Suppose one of you has 100 sheep, but he loses 1 of them. Then he will leave the other 99 sheep alone and go out and look for the lost sheep. The man will keep on searching for the lost sheep until he finds it. And when he finds it, the man is very happy. He puts it on his shoulders and goes home. He calls to his friends and neighbors and says, ‘Be happy with me because I found my lost sheep!’” Luke 15:4-6 (ICB)
Gentle Reader, you are so important to God that He will follow you to the ends of the earth. He stays by your side, whether you acknowledge Him or not. There’s nothing you can do that will stop Him from loving you. “God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (AMP)