I have a friend, Ryan Long, who's an Indie Christian Singer/Songwriter. I've loved both he and his music for over a decade now. He has an uncanny but God-given talent in writing music.
I remember the first time I saw Ryan. We were at Sharp Top Cove, a Young Life camp nestled in the mountains of Northern Georgia near the beginning of the Appalachian Trail. I was there as part of a volunteer leader weekend retreat and he was the "special music."
I can remember a couple of specific things about that first encounter with Ryan. First, everyone else there seemed to already be in some kind of "deep" relationship with RL (that's what I call him now). Most of them probably didn't know him any more personally than I did but his music had connected with them on some core level. Over the years i have found that to be true about so many people who have listened to his music.
Second, he was easy to listen to from the audience despite how crowded it was in the "club room." For those unfamiliar with club rooms, in general, and Sharp Top's old one, more specifically, it simply is a room where Young Life leaders engage their audience - could be other leaders, adults, families but most often it's kids - and the greatest story ever told is interwoven into songs, skits, and games. That particular weekend I remember as being packed to capacity with energized volunteer leaders of all ages and there, standing on a little platform not much wider than the length of his feet, was RL with his guitar.
I don't remember the set list but I do remember buying "Cry for Me." I don't how many times I've listened to that entire album since but it must be in the thousands by now. I don't remember every story he used to introduce his songs but I do remember the story of the "Spindle Tree." I also remember being touched by God through the talents of one of His children.
The title track of "Cry for Me" conveys the story of little Ellie Marie and her Daddy, David, and his inability to calm her during one of her crying fits. I'm reminded of that song right now because my own son, Angus, has been awake since 11:45 PM. Despite my attempts to console him, he continues to cry for Mommy. He has been sick for the last few days and Sophia, his older sister, was sick a few days prior. Mommy has been stretched thin on sleep, energy, and tolerance for children who never seem to get sick (just kidding on that one).
But wait ... It's 1:25 AM and all's quiet on the Western Front! Finally! God, thanks for reminding me of my friend RL and I ask that you continue to bless his ministry to hopeless and hurting kids. I pray for Amanda and Angus too. Please heal the little man and give them both rest; renew their strength.