Monday, February 22, 2010

Beyond The Bachelors (A Letter)

By - Steph Plant

Dear Jars of Clay.

I just wanted to write and say thank you for spending a little time in Greenville, Illinois. I could just kiss you right on your shiny, shiny foreheads for improving my life so much.

Back in high school I remember playing your cassette tapes all the time and wondering what kind of people you were. I dialed up the internet and went on a search for more information on how you’d become a band. I remember that fateful day when I read the words “studying Christian Contemporary Music at Greenville College in southern Illinois” and made the critical decision to send in my one and only college application and grow up to be JUST LIKE YOU. Thank you, Jars. Thank you for instilling the dream in me. The dream that many of us arrive here with: to one day complete our CCM bachelor’s degrees and go on to great and glorious CCM bliss.

It doesn’t bother me now that the dream was shattered that very first semester when I attempted to take Piano I with Dr. Kwon and realized that being a music major actually involved crazy hard WORK that I wasn’t at all prepared to do. Two hours a night in the practice rooms? Are you kidding me, Jars?! No wonder you dropped out and skipped right to bliss early on. I’m happy for you. I’m also happy for me.

I withdrew from a bunch of my music classes and perused the class listings to seek out some other interests of mine. I put my big plans for a CCM career on pause for a while as I took amazing classes with people like Rick McPeak, Ruth and Richard Huston, Daryl Iller, and Steve Heilmer. I learned so much from them all because of you, and I’m much indebted. Because of you I was exposed to the works of M. Scott Peck, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Annie Dillard. Because of you I got involved in lots of art classes and ended up changing my major so that I could devote more time to making lots and lots of woodcuts. Because of you I was challenged not to seek out what to think but how to think.

Because of you I live with a wonderful cat. (His name is Nunu, and he wants me to thank you for him as well.) Because of you, I ended up picking up my guitar again and started writing my own little songs (since that I wasn’t any longer intimidated by ambitions of being just like you)!

Because of your impeccable taste in Christian colleges, I met people who I’ll consider my bffs FOREVER. Forever, Jars. Do you understand how important you are to me?! You’re responsible for so much happiness in my life. Thank you for being the doorway to friendships with so many ridiculously wonderful people... Rachel Brown: delightful, dear, sister for life, Micah Jerrell: caring companion and boyfriend supreme, Katie Bogdanowicz, Krista Herring, Johannah Swank, Anna Nieves, Travis Hall, Anna Wagner, Joy Tsakanikis, Sara Miller, and Kelly Latimore, just to mention a tiny sliver of them.

Jars of Clay, you’re the best. I can’t decide who I’m more indebted to, you, or the U.S. Department of Education. My bliss didn’t come cheap, let me tell you. It was worth every penny I’m going to be paying off for the next several decades.
Anyway, thanks again to each of you, Charlie, Dan, Matt, and most of all Steve - I want to fall in love with y’all.

Your biggest fan,
Steph Plant

Steph Plant graduated from Greenville College in 2009 with an art degree. She currently resides in Greenville, filling her time with substitute teaching at the elementary school, playing with her cat Nunu, spending time with friends, making silly collages, and music shows.

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