In life, it is our actions which define us. If I had to pick one word to describe Crystal’s actions, it would be “Honor.”
First and foremost, she honors who she is. She simply views herself as a wife, mother and friend who happens to play music for a living.
And she honors all of those around her: those she knows and those she encounters who are seeking an autograph or just a smile.
I think her visit to Toledo, Ohio last weekend was all about honor. She honors where she came from and honors those who helped her survive long enough to get where she is today: still a wife, mother and friend who happens to play music for a living. Just more people listen now.
She honors people like Dave Gierke from Toledo School for the Arts, and the others there. They helped her stay connected to music, the stuff that kept her sane during a most difficult time in her life.
Part of her soul was born on the streets – nurtured among the people she fed, and the people who fed her – people who cared for her, and people she cared for, people who loved just who she was, and those she loves the same, people who simply matter to each other.
While in Toledo for a concert to benefit TSA, we planned to shoot public service announcements for World Homeless Day and 1Matters, as well as start production of a small documentary of the streets we are doing with Crystal.
While we chatted up the details, she related that during her TSA days she would stop over to St. Paul’s Shelter, have lunch and play her music there. She wondered if they would let her come back and play again. Of course, St. Paul’s said yes.
The following week, in conversations with Gina Orr, Crystal’s manager who is just as nice as her client and, by huge coincidence (huge, as in odds of a billion to 1 huge) was already closely connected to a friend here in Toledo, evolved the idea of shooting the PSAs in a small room at the shelter. And Crystal loved the idea of changing the shooting location for the song “Holy Toledo” there too, instead of at a show as we had discussed.
As is the case with Mr. Mellencamp, we decided to keep the visit quiet to be sure it was the guests who got to see the performance.
What was planned to be lunch and a four song set became an emotionally charged one hour show. Well, not really a show as it was more like a family reunion with cousin Crystal stopping between songs to say hi, catch up on the latest, or check on the where about of people she knows, people she remembers. “Anybody know where Duffy went?”
You have heard this phrase before, but quite literally, Crystal Bowersox SANG HER HEART OUT.
During one song she was nearly overwhelmed by the emotion. It was as if she realized at that very moment how far she had gone from where she had been to where she is now.
Being there was the fulfillment of a promise she made to her friends, her good friends, whom she missed. It was a promise made sitting at one of these very tables a few years ago, eating lunch with these same friends.
Crystal Bowersox promised them if she ever made it she would come back.
As the show progressed, it seemed her emotions and efforts to connect with their souls through her music increased with each person she recognized. It was as if her only goal was to connect to each and every single one of them — one at a time — to let them know they really, really do matter.
She sang and opened her whole heart out to them in order to connect, and connect she did.
Introducing “Holy Toledo” she said, “Start thinking positive and it is amazing what changes can take place. You all know this, so start thinking positive and it is amazing what can change for you, every 1 Matters.”
Since the show many of the guests have told us what it meant to them. Feelings of being important, being proud because — though often dismissed and even shunned by society –the singer with a huge heart came back just for THEM. Some of them said that for the first time in a long time, they really feel they do matter to someone. Someone cares.
This is what 1Matters is all about.
On behalf of everyone here working and living on the streets, and all of those at St. Paul’s, thank you Crystal.
Thank you for remembering us.
Thank you for caring about us.
Thank you for proving by your actions,
Every 1 Does Matter!
We are honored.