A friend loaned this album to me, and I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. I’m a classic rock kind of girl, and I knew that this artist leaned towards quiet, acoustic music. The album was exactly that – quiet, somewhat acoustic (think Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” and “Mercy Street”) – and yet here I am, writing my first ever recommendation for an album. Which I think everyone should buy immediately. It’s that good.
I listened to “Light for the Lost Boy” for the first time on a long drive by myself, and within a few minutes I was surprised to find that the music had touched me so deeply that my eyes were welling and my nose was prickling. My response didn’t arise from sadness or even joy, but from the relief of hearing truth: Pain is real, and so is God, and we carry on. Not like those who pretend that everything is perfect and happy-clappy all the time, and not like those whose pretentious cynicism leaves us cold and empty. We carry on with hope.
Andrew Peterson pulls no punches; he faces the reality of pain, of the hardness and the beauty of life, the ache we feel as we watch the children grow so fast and see the years of our lives fly away. And then Peterson juxtaposes these realities with the earth-shattering goodness of God. I have never seen the depth of God’s love written so clearly into music. The way salt makes flavors more intense, the sweet things sweeter and the savory things more savory, the pain is faced head on, sprinkled liberally in the lyrics as it is in life, making the sweetness of God sweeter, His power more comforting, His beauty more entrancing. If you know lots about God but don’t really know Him well personally, then this album is one of the best introductions I could imagine.
When I think about this music, the word that keeps coming to mind is “healing.” I remember when I was a little girl and skinned my knee, how my mother would take care of me. She’d soak my knee in warm water, gently rubbing to get all the dirt and the gravelly bits out. It would hurt like crazy but in a good way because I knew we had to get the gunk out in order for me to heal. Then she’d gently dry my knee with a towel, put some soothing ointment on the cuts, and give me a hug. The healing had begun. That’s how I feel when the last track ends and my iPod goes silent.
This is the perfect album for imperfect, broken people. And really, aren’t we all?