Nashville to Stockholm

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I knew this would happen. We flew from Nashville to Stockholm on Tuesday, arrived in a fog of half-sleep, ate some pizza for comfort more than hunger, and collapsed as though we might sleep for days. But then this. This tossing and turning in Sweden’s summer midnight, which is never totally dark, this weary awakeness in which I’m so tired I can’t sleep, where I’m obsessively and compulsively working out what time it is at home, working out how many Swedish crowns equals a dollar so I’ll know how much I really paid for that pizza, a head game made all the more irritating because of my ineptitude at math.

I’m not cranky, truly. Just jet-lagged. I couldn’t be more thankful to be here, safe and sound, with my sweet wife and three sweet kids in this little borrowed Stockholm flat, all four of them sleeping much better than I can right now. And so I give up on rest this first night of our adventure, and my thoughts turn to what led me here. There’s a long version and a short version, but I’m going to give you the ultra-short version: sometime late last year I realized that I was exhausted. There’s no better rest for me than being alone with Jamie and the kids, so we kicked around the idea of making this Sweden tour a family affair and trying to book enough concerts to pay for all of our plane tickets this time (this is my seventh tour over here).  We realized furthermore that Aedan will be 15 this year, which means we’re running out of time for a trip like this. Well, one thing led to another, and we decided that if we’re crossing the dadburn Atlantic we may as well make it count, which led us to booking concerts in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. In addition to the shows (fifteen of them, I think), I’m trying to finish The Warden and the Wolf King while I’m here, and I’m really hoping that walking these ancient lands will season the story in the best way. “So much for rest,” I hear you thinking. But just having the family close by will be for me like riding the eye of the hurricane.

The trip only began yesterday, but I’ve already learned so much about life and the Lord and how faith might work. See, I’ve wanted to play in the U.K. for more than a decade, but it’s never worked out. I’ve wanted to bring my family to Sweden since my first visit ten years ago, but it’s never worked out. This year, though, we felt such urgency about the trip that we decided not to wait for the concerts to show up. Rather, we looked at the calendar, chose a window of time, then told as many people in the U.K. and Sweden: “We’re coming this summer and we’re looking for help.” Not, “We’d love to come, but we can’t unless we get X number of gigs.” Not, “Let’s wait and see how this pans out, and maybe it’ll work.” We just decided to make our plans as if it was a done deal. This isn’t a blog about how to book a tour in Europe, of course, because what worked in this case might not ever work again, for you or for me. But now that I’m sitting in the half-light of Stockholm at 4:56 a.m. listening to my family sleep, I think back to a meeting with my manager and booking agent in January in which we decided that we weren’t going to wait for this to happen. We were just going to do it. It felt like Indiana Jones and the leap of faith.

I know some of you guys have always wanted to write a book. You’ve always wanted to ask that girl to marry you. You’ve always wanted to actually build a friendship with that neighbor, or start that ministry, or right that wrong, but things just never worked out. You’re waiting on the Lord, when maybe the Lord is waiting on you–he’s not waiting to bless you; he’s already done that and will continue to, regardless of your zeal. And he’s not waiting to “show up,” because he’s already there. I mean, what if he’s waiting for you to have a seismic shift in your understanding of what it means to be his child, what it means to  trust him, to finally realize that the sky’s the limit–like the father of the prodigal son saying to the self-righteous one: “All that I have is already yours.”

Finally, I want to ask you to pray for us. In sixteen years of touring I’ve never left home for two solid months. Nashville never seemed so beautiful than the day we left, and I had to resist the urge to hug random strangers on the street. Leaving for this long is an awfully romantic notion, but in the end I’m really just a homebody who travels for a living. And if this is as crazy of a trip for me, imagine how crazy it must feel for Jamie and the kids! Crazy, indeed. So yes. Pray for us. Pray for the audiences, for safety, and most of all please pray that we would be ever mindful of the great love of God as we carry that love to everyone we meet.

That’s what I’m thinking about here in Viking land today. Or tonight. Wait, what time is it in Nashville? Aw, forget it.

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(Skye’s face in this picture is hilarious, by the way.)

If you live in Sweden or the UK and you want to know where we’ll be, click here.

If you want to follow me on Instagram, where I may or may not post pictures from time to time, click here.

As a singer-songwriter and recording artist, Andrew has released more than ten records over the past fifteen years. His music has earned him a reputation for writing songs that connect with his listeners in ways equally powerful, poetic, and intimate. He has also followed his gifts into the realm of publishing. His books include the four volumes of the award-winning Wingfeather Saga.


22 Comments

  1. April

    Beautiful. I pray you will find the respite you need. And also that you finish The Warden and the Wolf King because y’know…priorities. 🙂

  2. Jessie Rae

    The part about hugging random strangers on the street made me laugh out loud. Have fun in Europe! So excited to get my hands on The Warden and the Wolf King!

  3. Katie

    Awesome. Thanks for the nudge. Looking forward to many more notes from the Petersons! Bella saw the family photo and said “Hey! I remember those guys!” Ha! God’s blessings and big Nashville hugs to you all.

  4. Rebekah Morgan

    “I’m trying to finish The Warden and the Wolf King ”

    Yay!

    Work hard and enjoy this trip with your family.

  5. Carrie Luke

    Wonderful thoughts, Andrew. It is funny to think that with these trips in the past we have prayed for the wives and children left at home. Now, we get to include them with you. What a blessing for you all.

    I do pray you can have moments of rest being surrounded by the beauty of your family and Europe even in the midst of work and deadlines.

  6. Dani

    I’m an American living in Sweden, and I have an awful time getting sleep in the summer, so I feel for you! I also urge you not to calculate how much you’re paying for your pizza, or any food, in dollars: you’re happier not knowing. 😉 On the other hand, you’re lucky to be here at Midsummer, and you’re even luckier to be going to Visby: lots of beautiful sights & magical inspiration. Have a wonderful and safe trip, and thank you for all you share.

  7. JamesDWitmer

    Andrew, thanks for this peek into your story, your family, and the weirdness of faith.

    I will pray for you all as you come to mind, and I kind of like April’s approach… 😉

  8. JR

    “I mean, what if he’s waiting for you to have a seismic shift in your understanding of what it means to be his child, what it means to trust him, to finally realize that the sky’s the limit–like the father of the prodigal son saying to the self-righteous one: “All that I have is already yours.””

    AP, Please get out of my brain! In spite of all my years of “good Christian church girl” training and checklists, this is happening to me right now and it is terrifying and wonderful all at the same time. I still battle the fear that the specifics of my seismic shift might come crashing down, dragging along with all the pieces of my broken heart, but even in the midst of the battle, I somehow know–deep down where it counts, that God has brought me here for a reason, and that at the victory, it will have been for my good and His glory. Now, to just glorify him in the battle.

    [Hi Shan.]

  9. April Pickle

    I had my iphone music folder set to “shuffle” the other day and a song I had never heard before started playing. What a wonderful suprsie to get acquainted with “Doxology!” And this post makes me want to sing it: “From Him, through Him, to Him is everything, everything…” Turns out iTunes had put it in an “Unknown Album.”
    Thank you for sharing your heart with us (as usual). It is a joy to join this community in praying for Family Peterson.

  10. Peter B

    What April and Carrie said. How joy-inducing to hear about the five of you making this journey together.

  11. Loren Warnemuende

    Love this. Praying for you all. Family trips are definitely the best, home is the sweetest, and trusting God is the scariest adventure out there. So glad you’re getting a chance to experience all three!

  12. Hannah

    So, I went to this concert a couple months ago, where Jason Gray played, and a guy on a string bass, and oh, some other guy named Peterson or something… 😉 And it was for me a little eye in my hurricane (as your music has been for several years now, over and over in my CD player and iPod amid the many miles I put on my car).
    And also a couple months ago I started reading these books about Wingfeathers and jewels, and found that the truth about my father and my home shone out from them; and there was another little eye in my hurricane. For which I’m so very thankful! And because of which, I’m so glad that y’all get a little of what you’ve given– I’m praying for lots of rest and refreshment for you!

  13. Matthew

    Jetlag is rough, best way to work it off is to stay awake and sleep when it’s night, which it sounds like your trying to do, sorry it isn’t working out. I have nights my mind won’t go to sleep, it leads to long days, but don’t worry, sleep will come.

    I remember a missions trip to West Virginia where none of us could sleep the first night because of the coal trains going throught the valley blaring their horns every hour. The head of the missions told us not to worry, we’ll sleep fine by Wednesday, he was right.

    Thanks for your work Andrew, your music has been a huge help in my life as well as my family’s and I’ve enjoyed the Wingfeather Saga as well (just finished reading the set in anticipation). I will tell you right now, I love the wit in the Dark Sea of Darkness, but your true story telling comes out the moment Janner sets foot in the Fork Factory; from then on the story takes hold and the characters really shine.

    We will be praying for you as we pray for many things. Thanks for the encouragement even in your lack of sleep, we all have projects or desires that we are never sure of, but regardless we are blessed and sometimes we just have to take action (other times we just have to grind it out).

  14. Georgina

    You and your family have tremendously blessed me through your writings and music. I’m praying for all of you during your long trip.

  15. John

    Thanks Andrew, that second-to-last paragraph really encouraged me a lot. Bless you guys. You’re there now, enjoy it!!!!

  16. Thomas

    Välkomna till Sverige! Ser fram emot att få höra dig på Gullbranna på lördag =)

    Thomas

  17. Darcel

    We heard you when you did a little concert at a church in our town – Prescott Valley, AZ several years back. I remember as I met you after, telling you I would pray for you. Well, I have prayed & thanked God many times for your music & the healing words that have blessed us so much! We have every cd & have given some as gifts. I hope someday you come “out west” again …we would be your biggest supporters! Happy you could fulfill your dream & go for it! Please pray for our community if you think of it … God Bless you & your sweet family!

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