As Nicki and I drove to a family reunion last month, we listened to a surprisingly good cover of the song, “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by The Proclaimers. It was performed by Steven Curtis Chapman, a contemporary Christian musician. As good as Chapman’s songs are, this just wasn’t the kind of song he would normally sing.
In fact, he explains in the album’s information that he did the song for his wife, because she loves it. Since most of Chapman’s songs fall into the “easy listening” category, I imagine he felt a little silly attempting this driving, offbeat rock song. Had he been a contestant on “American Idol”, Simon Cowell would definitely have told him he had picked the “wrong song”.
But Chapman pulled it off. And to my surprise – and perhaps his – Chapman’s version is amazing! It’s one of those rare cover songs that was actually worth re-making! But we might never know what kind of effort it took Chapman to make this uncomfortable song finally work for him.
When I’m dreaming
Well, I know I’m gonna dream
I’m gonna dream about the time when I’m with you
And when I wake up
I’m gonna be the man who wakes up next to you
On Memorial Day, our family and friends came over to help set up a swingset, which had been given to us by church friends. For technical jobs – like figuring out how to put a swingset together so that it doesn’t fall over – my brother, Robert, and our friend, John Adams, usually work with my wife to determine the best approach. I’m there as a grunt, to do some heavy lifting when needed. I’m also there to help watch Abby and Noah (not his real name), so that Nicki’s free to do other things for a short while. It doesn’t feel like much, but I’m doing whatever I can to make things easier for her and the kids.
After the swingset was put up, we celebrated with hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill. I was grilling.
For most dads, this is no big deal. It’s one of the most enjoyable things they get to do as dads, besides watch football games.
I am not most dads.
I don’t do well outdoors. I can’t handle much heat, and all manner of bugs are somehow attracted to me. On top of that, since I am mechanically uninclined, our gas grill still makes me nervous. I’ve only used it a few times, and still need to remember when – and how – to safely start the gas in order to light it. Whenever I pictured myself grilling, I anticipated standing in front an open gas leak with a tiny match, sweating and swatting away mosquitoes as I tried to keep them off of the meat, then lighting a match that caused the entire outdoor deathtrap to burst into six-foot flames.
It didn’t help that the only thing I could find to ignite the grill that day were the world’s tiniest and slowest-starting matches. Or that the wind had picked up enough to extinguish each lit flame. With every new match I struck, I inched closer to the grill. Closer and closer to the furnace that might spell my doom. Thankfully, it finally lit with the twelfth match and my face remains intact.
But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walked a thousand miles
To fall down at your door
Even better, Robert came out to help make sure I was able to start the grill, cook the food, and stop the grill without burning anything, especially myself. It’s good to have other people around with more grilling skill and experience than I have.
I had shied away from grilling for several years, because the idea made me so uncomfortable. But Nicki kept hoping I would learn this natural fatherly skill, because she loves the taste of grilled food. A few years ago, I finally manned up enough to start trying to grill stuff, and today … I’m still trying. But I improve a little each time. I actually enjoy it now.
But I never would have made myself do it if I weren’t doing it for Nicki. Doing something for someone else makes it worthwhile to step out of your comfort zone, even when it’s extremely uncomfortable.
And when I go out
Well, I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who goes along with you
When I come home
Yes, I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who comes back home to you
I’m gonna be the man who’s coming home to you
Is there something a loved one has been waiting for you to do? Something you just have trouble getting started? Unless there’s a legitimate reason you shouldn’t, why not try it? If it makes them happy, it can’t hurt to start making the effort.
You might even grow to like it.
Find more reviews of “All About Love” by Steven Curtis Chapman at amazon.com!
Friday, June 24th, 2011