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Standing up for Taya

December 13, 2008

File-6Today was one of the harder days of the Christmas tour.  Our host was very kind, but the day began with Taya (who is now the road manager since Jeremy had to leave the tour when his wife went into labor 3 weeks early) having to sort out some unfortunate miscommunications at the venue about things like load in volunteers, hotel rooms, and showers that conspired to complicate our daily schedule with more complications to follow throughout the day, including a massive headache that gripped my skull like a vice.

But the breaking point was when one of the security guards sexually harassed Taya by making extremely lewd propositions to her when she walked past on her way to prep us for the concert that was about to begin in 10 minutes.  I can’t write what he said, but if you know Taya, she’s pretty tough and can take a good deal, and this left her feeling pretty shook and violated. She is capable to take care of herself as anyone who knows her can tell you, but this man’s words were so evil and demeaning that it took her by surprise and left her feeling a little defenseless.

So something had to be done and Jason Germain (of Downhere) was on hand to go with me and deal with this guy.  We walked down the hall to confront him and I started in by asking if he was the man who made inappropriate comments to my wife.  He was an older man (which made it worse), and he said yes it was and that he was sorry, it was wrong of him to do, etc. etc.  I started to coolly tell him that he would need to leave now because he had no business being there when Jason Germain jumped in and blasted the guy saying, “that badge you’re wearing means that you’re supposed to be here to protect us from people like you!”

“You’re right, I didn’t mean to…”

To which Jason replied, “From the mouth proceeds the issues of the heart.  It’s clear what you meant.  We have the moral high ground here, and you need to leave right now…”

“I’m sorry, it was inappropriate” the man feebly confessed, “enough. Enough” he started to mumble to Jason defensively, “enough.”

To which I chimed in, “hey, you don’t get to say enough.  You lost your right, you can’t say enough.  We’ll tell you when it’s enough.  It’s not enough, and you need to leave right now.  You are no longer welcome here, you have to go.  My wife is working here and she will not see you again.”  At which point I heard them introducing me on stage so I had to leave Jason Germain to make sure things were resolved.  I stumbled on to the stage, adrenaline pumping and had to at that point figure out how to now put on a Christmas show.

I know a couple of our guys walked Taya back out to the lobby so she wouldn’t have to go alone and when the head of security came back stage to ask what was going on, Marc Martel’s (of Downhere) blood was up as he informed this man in detail what his partner had said and reiterated that he needed to be removed from the premises.  Marc’s often pretty stoic, so I was honored to hear him respond so passionately on behalf of Taya.  Like Jason, He took it personally.

We were informed that this man would be fired immediately and the head of security offered his profound apologies, but still the damage was done and Taya felt violated and somewhat guilty over the fact that this man would now lose his job – as if it were her fault.

There was a part of me that felt bad for this very sad, foolish, and pathetic man. All the things that we were talking about in the Christmas show were the very things this man needed in his life to come alive.  I felt sorry that his idiotic actions precluded him from the hope that we came to offer that night.  But he had to go, and I’m not my brother’s keeper when the brother in question makes disgusting remarks to my bride. I can only hope that he finds grace and that even what happened tonight, though difficult for him, will force him to confront his own demons and push him closer to healing.

For the rest of the night, there felt like there was a gray cloud over everything and load out was awkward and solemn.  But when it was all said and done and we were back on the bus talking about it, I was holding Taya who was nestled into me in a way that felt like she couldn’t get close enough, that she couldn’t sink deep enough in my arms, and her eyes teared up as we recounted all the ways that every guy on our tour was outraged over what had happened to her and had risen in their own way to her defense.  The earlier tears of violated shame and unnecessary guilt were washed away by tears of gratitude for her friends who stood up for her.  What could have been an awful memory of degradation was instead redeemed and transformed into a memory of how loved she is.

I wonder if this is the way our lives here will look when we’re all done.  Perhaps all the sad days will melt away as we remember instead the heroism of those who loved us bravely, of those who gave God’s love hands and feet, and we will praise not the virtue of men nor bemoan their vices, but instead will bless the name of God and his son Jesus Christ who sometimes through us, more often in spite of us, came to make all things new and who even now is making everything sad come untrue.

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