Every now and then I come across this photo - it’s one of my favourite shots (of me) ever - probably because it was actually on stage, rather than staged.
I guess ‘on stage’ is my favourite place to be. I sure do feel at home there. I feel like I’m filling out the shape I was created to be, just a little more fully.
Stranger in town
People often ask me where I live - it seems a commonly innocuous and accidentally banal thing to say to a human unit who’s passing through a place, though it bugs me more than I ought to let it. (Australian blues singer/songwriter/guitarist Fiona Boyes has a magnificent song about always being the stranger, or new folks, in town.)
Sometimes I’m wearily dismissive and answer “well I live in [insert name of town here] tonight!”. Other times when it’s accurate I say “in my van”, or occasionally the longer spiel about a tiny place between Toowoomba and Dalby...
Once, someone asked me the slightly sideways, but not brand new question: “where’s home for you?”, and that time I straightaway said with a gentle, inner-calm-radiating smile (at least that’s how I imagine I appeared, in my memory): “on stage”.
A birthday wish
It’s certainly my favourite thing to be doing on my birthday - to be on stage far away, singing my little lullabies and fight songs, chattering on about what it feels like to be me or someone I used to be, and what that’s taught me. Where my comforts lie, I suppose.
What most fulfils me - I believe because it’s the purpose God planned for me.
A true home
Which leads me to where my real home is - and it’s nothing to do with this world. Neither a building, a town, another person, nor that warm friend of mine, the stage, are my true home. If I were to focus on nesting in those things, and not in God and the place He prepares for us, I’ll surely get in a tangled web.
Back to this photo, taken by Steve McNeil during my show at the Wesley Anne in Melbourne, late 2018. Whatever it is I’m singing about here - I must be meaning it.
Truth and an outlet for it, sounds like a beautifully sustaining ecosystem to me. Like a home ought to be.
I’m reminded of the lyrics of a gospel song that stung me with conviction when I first heard them:
“This world is not my home, I’m just a-passing through.”
Pepper Jane from the Toowoomba is a recovering workaholic and (under usual circumstances) a touring musician. Pepper Jane was raised free range on a farm on the Darling Downs. Pepper Jane generally writes for the arts, entertainment, folk music magazines and brewing songs within her own flexible schedule. It is the Lord to whom her craft celebrates.