“People love lists,” I heard my friend Scott Fitzsimmons say during a radio interview on Yorkton’s 98.5 The Rock FM. Jordan, his friend and colleague, wanted the station’s audience to hear about Scott’s newly established YouTube channel, “Scott loves Christian Music.”
He won’t be ranking the albums and titles he plays, he told Jordan. There are too many opinions out there. Someone would get offended. He’ll simply play and talk about the music that means the most to him.
What Scott says is worth listening to. He knows modern Christian music better than most of us. He used to manage The Rock, the only commercial Christian radio station in the area. His thoughtful, skilled work helped make it what it is today, fifteen years after it began broadcasting.
Scott’s new broadcasting journey doesn’t surprise me. He was one of the first to encourage me to air my short radio spots, Simple Words. After studio tapings, we sometimes visited in his office. I loved those conversations about faith, life and writing.
A cancer diagnosis altered Scott’s and his family’s lives forever. These five hundred words can’t explain the agonizing journey, which included countless rounds of treatment, months in hospital and a stem cell transplant.
Gone was the life he and his wife Sharlene had previously, the status quo allowed most families. Beautiful years with normal ups and downs. (Funny how normal never seems sweet until it slips away as easily as water down the drain.) Sharlene became, in essence, a chauffeur (taking Scott back and forth to medical facilities), while single parenting their three youngsters. Family life became laser focused on getting Daddy through.
Scott’s years of treatments have altered him forever. His cancer is in remission, but his treatments brought collateral damage. Among other things like severe back and leg issues, they messed with his eyes. Now legally blind, he’s adjusting to a world without the sight that enabled him to skillfully navigate life and work and family.
But Scott is clearly forging forward, grateful to God and countless others who have cared, prayed, and assisted in getting him thus far. His YouTube channel proves that. Goodness, my friend could be making lists of other kinds. Likely there are days he’s tempted to do so. Lists such as: Ten Ways Hospitals Can Kill You. Fourteen Reasons to Give Up. Five things I Hate About Being Disabled. Fifty Painless Ways to Leave Your Faith.
Instead, Scott is proving that as a follower of Jesus Christ, his security and self-worth doesn’t rest in what can be taken away, but what can never be removed: God’s love and sufficient grace. He’s making lists of songs by musicians who sing and play for Jesus; Christian music that helps people keep going when they’d rather stop. Songs that remind them that when life shatters, God can make mosaics from the pieces. That there’s a Divine Companion on all our bumpy roads. Music that glorifies not the artists, but the God he loves to share. The Lord who is helping him through, and who can do the same for us all.