I’m trying to become a more positive person, because I can go from happy to negative in one second flat. Part of letting go of negativity, I think, is embracing thankfulness—for what God has given me, even though at times I grumble about how it’s not what I really want. God knows what I need, not what I want, and my only option is to follow Him because that’s where my true inner joy and peace comes from. John Piper affectionately calls this Christian hedonism.
Normally, I don’t capitalize on the Thanksgiving holiday because forget the turkey and football, I want those Black Friday sale ads (I get an early start, head to BFads.net) so I can make my strategic shopping battle plan. However, despite the inaccuracies in the original story of Thanksgiving (you know, the pilgrims and the natives chillaxin’ with a big ol’ turkey), it is still a great time to give thanks for all the good things that flow from the Father of Lights.
Instead of naming each and every person, place, and thing I’m thankful for, I’d like to mention one band, Five Iron Frenzy, whose members have profoundly impacted my life. Incidentally, the band does have a memorial DVD called The Rise and Fall of Five Iron Frenzy coming out sometime next year—can’t wait for that!
Five Iron Frenzy will forever and always be my favorite band. I remember discovering their first CD in the music section at a Christian bookstore when I was in high school. After loving the CD, I e-mailed the band and THREE of the members wrote back to me, including Reese Roper, who I asked to the prom (or rather “the junior/senior banquet,” which is the Christian school version of a prom). He said he’d go if I’d pay for the plane ticket. Uh, I didn’t have that kind of money. Still, it was pretty hilarious.
Then I met the band in person that summer at the Creation Festival and had a lengthy conversation with the wonderful Leanor “Jeff the Girl” Ortega Till. I became one of her many pen pals, and her letters deeply impacted my life and still do. Just the fact that she took the time to write to a pimply face high school girl who felt worthless changed my life.
When I started a zine, Reese, Jeff, Micah Ortega, and Keith Hoerig agreed to be interviewed. It was a cut-and-past job, but Five Iron Frenzy treated me as though I was writing for CCM Magazine. Whenever I saw Reese or Jeff, I was greeted with a huge hug and “How are you?” And I was just surprised they remembered my name!
In 2001 after recovering from my scary illness (read post), I talked to Reese about my fears—of it coming back, of going to the hospital, of getting headaches. He gave me his personal cell phone number and told me to call him if I needed prayer. I called him once and he prayed.
The last time I saw Five Iron Frenzy was the first date of their last tour—when they played at my church. I stood backstage and bawled during “Every New Day.” I walked away before they came off stage; I didn’t want them to see me like that. We got the band to the autograph line and I chatted with a few of the FIF member’s wives (nice ladies!). The manager for another band was trying to push the line through or he threatened that his band would not sign autographs. See, Five Iron Frenzy took their time to talk and get to know every fan that came through the line. They didn’t do it because it was a “business thing;” they did it because that is who they were as a band and are as individuals.
Recently, I’ve been able to connect with two of my FIF pals—Reese and Leanor—and it’s so cool to see who they’ve become. Reese is married to a beautiful gal with an awesome name and pursuing a career as a “murse” (that’s Reese for “male nurse”). Leanor is also married, has two adorable kiddos (a son and a daughter), and working at Scum of the Earth. Reese, Leanor, and the rest of Five Iron Frenzy will always be a shining example to me on how artists who call themselves Christians should act. Was the band perfect? Certainly not! Were they real? Absolutely. And there was no question that they loved (and still love) God and His children wholeheartedly.
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy.” Philippians 1: 3-4