Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Every so often, a hue and cry is raised about the desensitizing nature of excessive media exposure to assorted images. The amount of violence consumed by the average television viewer or video game player is astonishing. Whether this makes us less aware of the horrific nature of these crimes has oft been debated. For the sake of this post, it is assumed there is at least some truth to the argument for such being the case.

Similarly, we have all seen enough natural disasters, be they genuine on the evening news or computer and/or model-generated images at your local movie theater, to have an eerie familiarity with their appearance. Pictures of refugee camps and shelters for those displaced by forces far beyond man's control abound. If anything, they are in overabundance. One can become immune to such scenes, embracing a false sense of detachment based on the separation between photograph or moving image and ourselves. It seems surreal. And so it seems unreal.

Until it becomes personal.

By now you've most likely seen the pictures of the flood waters that have engulfed much of Nashville. The inside of Grand Old Opry with water reaching the top of the seats that for years have been filled with country music fans. Freeways so overrun with water it covers the roofs of cars trapped there. Businesses and homes awash, devastated, destroyed.

One of those homes belongs to Bob and Jayne Farrell.

The names may not be familiar to you. But they are to me.

I'll let this note from their daughter, as posted on Facebook, explain the background:

May 1st 2010 the sky opened up over Nashville. The water came down and the rivers, creeks and lakes rose up and swallowed houses and whole communities. One of the stories in this disaster belongs to Bob and Jayne Farrell.

Bob and Jayne fought the rising waters until the early hours of the morning of May 2nd when finally chest high water sent them out of their home into the rising floodwaters and the arms of the Nashville Fire Department’s Water Rescue teams. They left their modest home on an idyllic creek losing everything they owned. As of this moment Bob’s only vice, a beat-up old Miata that he was always threatening to restore has floated away.

Many of you who grew up on early Contemporary Christian Music would know them better as “Farrell and Farrell”. The artists behind such hits as “People In A Box”, “Earthmaker” and writer of hit songs for other artists such as “Heirlooms” from Amy Grant’s first Christmas CD.

I know them by another name, Mimi and Poppy. These are the names bestowed on them by their grandchildren, my children. Bob and Jayne have spent their lives giving of themselves not only through a ministry of music but in their day to day lives living out the sacrificial and messy business of the gospel of Christ. They didn’t start their careers for a record deal. In fact there were no CCM labels when they began. The yard where my sons have played is under the deluge, the kitchen that they restored in this old home, is covered in the bitter waters. The piano where Bob sat with his grandkids to teach them to play is destroyed. There are no more family dinners around the table, which was a regular feature of our lives for more than a decade.

Their loss is total. They made it out with the clothes on their backs.

I was one of those people who had everything Farrell and Farrell recorded. One of their songs, "Scars", has long been a source of comfort.

Now, they are the ones who have been scarred.

It's easy in this business to forget there are people on the other end of the phone or camera. It's almost easy to forget, when dealing with the everyday mundane aspects of the job, the reason why we do this. Sometimes it takes a jarring reminder to put it back into focus.

Knowing artists you cherished for years have lost everything definitely qualifies as jarring.

Here's hoping whoever their insurer may be treats them properly.

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