I've heard many things roll out of mouths in my 54 years. Sentences, utterings, mutterings ranging from rage to euphoria. Some have stung for years only to fade away as time does what it does. Then others that rang sweet notes in my soul and bettered with age.
I have no idea how this particular story will age...but I sure don't think it's going to fade away.
Here we go.
The Holy Rocka Rollaz had just finished a 10 am performance at the Clay County Fair in September of 2017. It was a dewy morning and we could see a slight mist outside of the performance tent. Although we're more accustomed to 10 pm performances we acquitted ourselves quite well and were ready to go rest up for two more afternoon shows.
Then I noticed a lady, probably in her late 50s, standing at the edge of the stage. She had a look of wanting to tell me something. So I walked over and said, "Hi!"
She looked me right in the eye and asked me this: "Do you believe in the presence of spiritual beings?"
I wasn't ready for that. It showed. All I had was a blank stare and a "What?"
She repeated, "Do you believe in the presence of spiritual beings?"
OK, I heard her right the first time and was curious as to where this was going. I squatted down at the side of the stage and respectfully asked, "Watcha got?"
She proceeded to tell me her husband has moments where he can see things. Something takes over him and he's given a look into, I guess, another realm.
Because I do happen to believe in a spirit dimension and have actually seen something before, I was intrigued as she went on.
I'm paraphrasing below, but it's my best recollection of where her story went.
"My husband saw something today and he wanted me to come up here and tell you what he saw. He would have come up, but the experience was so much that he's still crying at the back of the tent. He said he saw Johnny Cash between you and your wife as you performed."
Already a bit perplexed with where this encounter was going, I was left a bit speechless. All that came out of me was, "I've never been told that before."
Then she looked me square in the eye and asked, "Do you know what this means?"
I shook my head, "No."
She said, "This means you are supposed to be doing this." Then she walked back to her husband.
I popped off the stage, doing my best to digest what had happened.
I regrouped with Lisa Lynn and Matt shortly thereafter, eager to recount what had just been shared with me. I told them about the encounter and they both had bemused looks on their faces. Then I cut to the case and asked Matt, "You were behind us. Did you see anything?" "Nope," he answered.
It was Lisa Lynn's turn. I asked, "Did you sense anything different this morning?" She shook her head, "No."
And I didn't feel or sense anything either. But I sure didn't forget the post-show encounter.
Eventually, I started sharing the story at some of the senior living homes that Lisa Lynn and I regularly perform at. The story never fails to quiet the room. I'll admit it's fun to say, "Somebody said they saw Johnny Cash on stage with us."
Sometimes when we've performed a Johnny Cash song and the applause subsides, I'll ask the folks, "Was Johnny behind us during that one?" There's always a a few chuckles followed by a "No."
But at a New Year's party for a great assisted living center I noticed a Native American woman listening intently as she sat by her elderly mom. She came up to me following our performance and had a big smile on her face.
She told me, "I didn't see Johnny Cash on stage with you. But I did see him in your heart."
Folks, I sure hope wherever Johnny Cash currently resides (my hunch is in paradise with his beloved Lord Jesus and family members) that well...maybe he smiled a bit at that.
No matter what did or didn't occur on that Iowa stage, that lady was spot on with her parting shot.
This is, indeed, what we're supposed to be doing.