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40 Years of “Young at Heart”: Music and Memories

June 7, 2011

Last Sunday night, Heartland was blessed with the opportunity to host a celebration of 40 years of “Young at Heart” broadcast ministry.  My predecessor at Heartland, Don Young, has hosted this broadcast for all these years.  His ratings are still one of the highest in our region.  If anything lasts for 40 years, it is an amazing feat, especially something on TV.  In a fast pace, rapid changing society Don Young has been a constant voice for Christ in our area. Truly, he is a regional icon.  He is a reminder that while things change, there are still some things you can count on.  That’s a good thing.

Don’t get me wrong.  Don is not averse to change.  Change from something “old” to something “new” was the theme of the night that included a wardrobe transition throughout the night by Don, whose fashion transitioned from urban professional to the classic “Rick Warrenesque” Hawaiian shirt.  Don loves change.  He embraces it, and it has been one of the keys to the success of the ministries He has served in, both church and broadcast.  In fact, it is his embracing of change that has been one vital factor in a successful transition in leadership at Heartland. 

The music took us all back to years gone by.  Several of the original Hallmarks (the musical group that accompanied Don’s broadcast) were present.  I was struck by the connection between music and memories.  They go hand in hand.  It isn’t just “I really like a certain style of music.”  We all have our preferences, but preferences are only so powerful.  Music does something much more.  It accompanies life.  It is the backdrop for memories.  Now that’s powerful.

Have you ever heard a song and were able to say where you were at and when it was you first listened to that song?  A lot of reminiscing went on Sunday night, and not just during the service.  The fellowship and conversations were bursting with a spirit of reunion and perhaps some “fish” stories.

Time stops for no one.  We are in constant grief because of this.  Most of the time we are able to hold that grief at bay.  Sometimes,however, it is too great to hold back.  I would suggest that visiting old memories is always worth it.  I would suggest that, while memories come with both joy and grief, it is better to recount them and find joy in them.  Without this type of remembering, we grow shallow, we lose gratitude, and we lose our joy.

Sunday night did just that.  I missed out on experiencing most of these memories, but last Sunday night I was able to be a part of the whole 40 years.  I am thankful that I did.  Those memories and this legacy is a part of who I am and always will be.  Know your past.  Be a historian.  Honor those who have walked your path before you.  Ironically, when you do these things then you get to share in the joy of a journey you never took.

Thanks, Don, for your loyalty to this region.  Thanks for embracing change and loving the future of Christ’s work as much or more as you love the past.  All of this has blessed my life.

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