I knew this would happen. We flew from Nashville to Stockholm on Tuesday, arrived in a fog of half-sleep, ate some pizza for comfort more than hunger, and collapsed as though we might sleep for days. But then this. This tossing and turning in Sweden’s summer midnight, which is never totally dark, this weary awakeness in which I’m so tired I can’t sleep, where I’m obsessively and compulsively working out what time it is at home, working out how many Swedish crowns equals a dollar so I’ll know how much I really paid for that pizza, a head game made all the more irritating because of my ineptitude at math.
I’m not cranky, truly. Just jet-lagged. I couldn’t be more thankful to be here, safe and sound, with my sweet wife and three sweet kids in this little borrowed Stockholm flat, all four of them sleeping much better than I can right now. And so I give up on rest this first night of our adventure, and my thoughts turn to what led me here. There’s a long version and a short version, but I’m going to give you the ultra-short version: sometime late last year I realized that I was exhausted. There’s no better rest for me than being alone with Jamie and the kids, so we kicked around the idea of making this Sweden tour a family affair and trying to book enough concerts to pay for all of our plane tickets this time (this is my seventh tour over here). We realized furthermore that Aedan will be 15 this year, which means we’re running out of time for a trip like this. Well, one thing led to another, and we decided that if we’re crossing the dadburn Atlantic we may as well make it count, which led us to booking concerts in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. In addition to the shows (fifteen of them, I think), I’m trying to finish The Warden and the Wolf King while I’m here, and I’m really hoping that walking these ancient lands will season the story in the best way. “So much for rest,” I hear you thinking. But just having the family close by will be for me like riding the eye of the hurricane.
The trip only began yesterday, but I’ve already learned so much about life and the Lord and how faith might work. See, I’ve wanted to play in the U.K. for more than a decade, but it’s never worked out. I’ve wanted to bring my family to Sweden since my first visit ten years ago, but it’s never worked out. This year, though, we felt such urgency about the trip that we decided not to wait for the concerts to show up. Rather, we looked at the calendar, chose a window of time, then told as many people in the U.K. and Sweden: “We’re coming this summer and we’re looking for help.” Not, “We’d love to come, but we can’t unless we get X number of gigs.” Not, “Let’s wait and see how this pans out, and maybe it’ll work.” We just decided to make our plans as if it was a done deal. This isn’t a blog about how to book a tour in Europe, of course, because what worked in this case might not ever work again, for you or for me. But now that I’m sitting in the half-light of Stockholm at 4:56 a.m. listening to my family sleep, I think back to a meeting with my manager and booking agent in January in which we decided that we weren’t going to wait for this to happen. We were just going to do it. It felt like Indiana Jones and the leap of faith.
I know some of you guys have always wanted to write a book. You’ve always wanted to ask that girl to marry you. You’ve always wanted to actually build a friendship with that neighbor, or start that ministry, or right that wrong, but things just never worked out. You’re waiting on the Lord, when maybe the Lord is waiting on you–he’s not waiting to bless you; he’s already done that and will continue to, regardless of your zeal. And he’s not waiting to “show up,” because he’s already there. I mean, what if he’s waiting for you to have a seismic shift in your understanding of what it means to be his child, what it means to trust him, to finally realize that the sky’s the limit–like the father of the prodigal son saying to the self-righteous one: “All that I have is already yours.”
Finally, I want to ask you to pray for us. In sixteen years of touring I’ve never left home for two solid months. Nashville never seemed so beautiful than the day we left, and I had to resist the urge to hug random strangers on the street. Leaving for this long is an awfully romantic notion, but in the end I’m really just a homebody who travels for a living. And if this is as crazy of a trip for me, imagine how crazy it must feel for Jamie and the kids! Crazy, indeed. So yes. Pray for us. Pray for the audiences, for safety, and most of all please pray that we would be ever mindful of the great love of God as we carry that love to everyone we meet.
That’s what I’m thinking about here in Viking land today. Or tonight. Wait, what time is it in Nashville? Aw, forget it.
(Skye’s face in this picture is hilarious, by the way.)
If you live in Sweden or the UK and you want to know where we’ll be, click here.
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