“Good afternoon everyone, this is your First Officer speaking and uh, it’s a beautiful day for flying. There’s a few clouds in the distance but uh… we will be climbing above them very quickly. The Captain will be speaking to you periodically, we are first in line for takeoff, and uh… it’s great to have you with us. Thank you.”
Few things are as priceless to me as the ability to listen to music. Music transcends words and actions to me, it speaks on such a fundamentally understood part of our hearts and there is a wonderful beauty in that. I would not be the man I am today if it weren’t for the artists who I have placed into my own personal hall of fame, Coheed & Cambria, He Is Legend, Watsky, and many others. The list is long enough I probably couldn’t recount it here for you.
In the faith there are so many goofy things we try to tell one another and make it out to be part of the gospel, I could spend hours picking apart the things we shouldn’t do and shouldn’t say, but today is a special day. I want to honor a Christian musician who shaped my faith, my sense of humor, and to some small degree, my personality.
When my wife and I first started dating, it’s no secret that it was difficult for us. It has been difficult since, too, and one night in particular as she was going through a particularly difficult day, I curated a playlist that I sent to her, one filled with songs that reminded me of her and songs that brought joy to my heart on my dark days. There were all kinds of songs, and they began to write the beginning of our relationship. Among those were a small handful of tracks from a musician named Carman.
I’ve been listening to Carman my entire life. He was if I’m recalling things correctly, my first concert. I was barely old enough to remember it, but I do remember bending the little glowstick necklaces that my mom got for me into the shape of a cross and singing along to his music. I remember listening to him when I was seven or eight years old, “No Monsters” the soundtrack to my sleepless night. A song that carried me through years and years of nightmares and frightful moments as I worried about what was just out of sight, in the depths of my closet, when I wondered what was watching me from outside my window, what sinister thing might have followed me home I listened to Carman and it soothed me. I learned stories from the Bible thanks to his music, I grew in my faith because of the example he set for me. Though I never met him, though I don’t know everything about this man, he changed my life permanently.
When I grew up and graduated and struck out on my own, his music guided me through hard times. Even still, when I built that playlist for my wife I added a particular song of his that has remained a constant reminder that I am not in control and it is okay. When the fears of the world begin to overtake me as they seem to do so frequently now, I listen to that song and remember what it was like to be a child without fears. I remember what it was like to not worry about bills and chores and relationships. I remember a world before taxes and payments and debts and loans and I remember a much simpler time, a time that I will see again. I remember that God is watching me, and caring for me, even when I don’t feel Him, which lately, has been difficult to do. I know that the sorrows of the world will not conquer me, and one day I will emerge on the other side. I was made with great care, and I am precious. I have nothing to fear because I am not alone today and I never have been.
Carman passed away on February 16, 2021, due to surgery complications, and when I heard the news I took some time to mourn. I didn’t really know how I wanted to write this, because he was such a huge, incredible part of my life. To be able to do what he did would be amazing. To have the influence that he had and to change so many lives for good… It was a blessing, knowing of him in any capacity. I will always hold the music he created close to my heart, because it reminds me in the darkness, when perhaps it is my time to go, that I have nothing to be afraid of.
I look at him and see an unafraid man. We are talking about a man who was hit by a car and still performed a concert, needing surgery afterward due to internal injury. He released music videos featuring horror imagery, and depictions of Satan and demons which, at the time, was unheard of. He led massive, completely free concerts and in so many ways he was a man who I will always admire. Though he is gone, I remember fearlessness, I remember love, and I remember compassion. I hope I get to see him again one day, and dance with David and sing songs together.
“Fear not my child,
I am with you always.
I feel every pain,
And every tear I see.”
Fear Not My Child (The Champion), Carman
As I was getting ready to wrap this post up and leave with something that resonates in your heart, to hit all the emotional strings I always aim for I caught up on some of his more recent music and found this particular song, and I think it says more than I could say to you here.
He had a way with words that, while cheesy and over the top, brought me peace in my darkest moments. Without fail he reminded me to look towards the Word, and his music and lessons pushed me to be a better friend, a better son, a better husband, and even now, to keep pushing forward with my eyes focused on the Cross.