Destiny Granger stood in line outside the theater where Jesse Stanton would be performing. In Destiny’s mind Jesse was the best male Christian pop vocalist in the world. Five years earlier, as soon as Destiny had heard his debut album, she was immediately enchanted by his voice: every note he sang went straight to her heart. Whenever she listened to the album, she felt like he was right in the room with her.
This year, for her twenty-sixth birthday, her parents had bought Destiny a ticket to his concert. Her excitement mounted as she neared the front of the line. As she was directed to her seat the atmosphere was tense with anticipation. After half an hour of support act the announcer spoke over the speakers:
“Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to introduce the world-renowned Christian recording artist – Jesse Stanton!”
The concert hall shook with thunderous applause as Jesse Stanton appeared on stage. “Are you ready to bless the Lord?”
The crowd answered with one deafening scream and then the concert began. Throughout the music Destiny sang every word to every song, danced and shouted along with everyone else in the auditorium. What she loved most about the concert was that, in the second half, Jesse sang some of her all-time favorite worship songs. What Destiny most admired about Jesse, other than his music and his vocal performance, was the way he worshiped during a concert. On more than a few occasions he seemed to immerse himself in the presence of the Lord. He lifted his hands and used the fruit of his lips to pay homage to the heavenly Father.
The concert lasted for two hours and finally the lights came on. Destiny, along with the rest of the crowd, filed out of the front doors where outside it was raining. Destiny had forgotten her umbrella so she quickly rushed to her car and closed the door. She turned the key and the ignition but her car wouldn’t start; she tried again, pushing down hard on the brake but still nothing. She picked up her cellphone to call for help but it was dead. She looked up and caught the eye of the security guard.
“Excuse me sir,” she called. “My car won’t start. Is there any way I could run inside for a quick second to use the phone?”
“Sorry but the theater is closed.”
“Please sir, please.” Destiny could see that her pleading was not going to get her anywhere. So here she was: it was 10.45pm by this time and she had no phone and no way to get home.
Just as she was about to give up hope of ever getting home, Destiny saw a car pull up in front of where she was standing. The window rolled down: “Do you need help?” a voice called.
Destiny knew right away who was speaking to her but she still could not believe that Jesse Stanton was talking to her.
“Uh uh yes, my car won’t start and my cell died.”
“That’s no problem. I can take you inside and let you use my phone.”
“Really, you would do that?”
“Sure, why not?” Jesse got out of his car with his umbrella and gave it to Destiny before going to the security guard and explaining the situation. A few minutes later Jesse and Destiny were inside.
“It’s really coming down out there,” Jesse said.
“Yes it is,” Destiny agreed.
Destiny remembered suddenly that she had not given Jesse her name. “Excuse my rudeness: I’m Destiny.”
“I’m Jesse but I guess you already knew that.”
“I have to confess that, as a matter of fact, I did. Great show tonight by the way.”
“Thanks – what can I say? The Lord is wonderful. There is nothing I can do without him.”
“That is so true,” Destiny agreed. “In fact, your concert ticket was a birthday present from my parents. I’ve loved your music from ‘Stand up for Christ’. What a great first single!”
“Thanks, it is still one of my favorites as well.”
“So, how did you start in the music business?”
“Well, I started it like most Christian musicians do with singing in church and then in high school. I got a job as a waiter at an ice cream parlor. One day a famous producer was in the shop and heard me singing. He said that I should make a demo and the next thing I know, my single is number one across the country and I’m in the studio recording my first album.”
“Wow, that’s amazing. Do people recognize you everywhere you go?”
“Not everywhere but they do recognize me. The thing I find wonderful about the Christian music industry is that people don’t seemed to make as much of a fuss about my personal life. Some stuff is the same, like the long hours on the road and the label trying to work me to death!”
Destiny laughed. “You think your label is trying to work you to death? You should meet my boss!” At this comment both of them burst into laughter. After a few minutes Jesse asked, “Why, what do you do for your boss to work you to death?”
“I’m a legal aid lawyer.” Jesse’s face grew serious.
“Don’t look so serious, it’s actually a great job. I love helping: contrary to what most people think, lawyers do help people.”
“I know what you mean: people always make judgments about me because I’m a musician. They assume that because I’m twenty-eight, I’m supposed to be some kind of playboy or something.”
Destiny was having such a great conversation with Jesse that she forgot about her car and what she had originally come into the theater to do. When she remembered, she said with a laugh, “I was just supposed to come in to use the phone and we’ve been talking for ages!”
“I’m sorry, I guess we both lost track of the time.” Jesse took his cellphone from his pocket and handed it to Destiny. When she finished she handed the phone back to Jesse.
“Thanks,” she said with a smile. “I didn’t want to wake my parents up so I just called a cab.”
“Are you close to your parents?”
“Yes, very close. I love them so much, they’ve supported me through everything and they’re really great people. What about you, are you close with yours?”
Jesse paused for a second before he answered. “Actually my Mom and Dad died when I was seven years old in a boating accident.”
“I’m so sorry Jesse, I had no idea.”
“That’s all right. I don’t talk about it much. Reporters are pretty good with me about asking personal questions. They don’t bother me about my family life and I’ve never talked about it openly to the media. No one except close friends and family know about my parents.”
“If your parents died when you were young, then who brought you up?”
“My grandmother. I was very blessed in my childhood because I not only had my grandmother looking out for me but I also had my church community. They made sure that I was on my best behavior at all times.” Jesse changed the subject. “What about your car?”
“I will pick it up in the morning.” They talked for another fifteen minutes until the taxi pulled up. Jesse followed Destiny out and insisted on paying the fare.
“It was so nice to meet you Jesse,” said Destiny.
“I really liked hanging out with you,” he said with a smile. Destiny smiled back and waved as the taxi drove away. On the way home she had to keep pinching herself. When she reached her front door she was still smiling. This would be a night that she would never forget as long as she lived
Life went on as usual for Destiny. She continued with her daily routine with the normal vigor that she always had. Being a legal aid lawyer may seem rather daunting to some people but to Destiny it was a ministry, a chance to fight for people who could not fight for themselves. She was extremely good at what she did and, excepting two or three cases, she had won victory for everyone she worked for. As well as working at the law firm, Destiny was also the head of a program for troubled teenagers and young adults at the church. Working with victims of rape and molestation, and with people on the street, really gave Destiny a reason to be thankful to the Lord. It was amazing to be able to see the difference that she made in the lives of people at the church and at work. The ability to transform lives with the love of the Lord was why Destiny took such pride in what she did.
So life went on as usual for Destiny, with her two fulltime positions, seeing her parents every Sunday after church and, whenever she could, going out with friends. Before she could turn her head it was her birthday again. This year she decided to have dinner with just her parents and friends around her. Sitting in the restaurant, Destiny had just turned around to talk to her mother when she heard a voice behind her.
“I never thought I’d see you again, especially around the same time that we met last year.” Before turning round to see who it was that spoke to her, Destiny looked at all the astonished faces sitting before her. Finally she turned around and gave Jesse Stanton a huge “Oh my gosh, what are you doing here?”
“I’m in town rehearsing for a show. What are you doing here?”
“It’s my birthday!”
“Oh yeah, that’s right I remember.” Destiny was so caught up with talking to Jesse that she almost forgot about everyone else staring at them in amazement. Destiny had not told them how she had met Jesse the previous year. At the time she didn’t think that it would matter because, after all, it was once in a lifetime that a person got to meet their favorite celebrity.
“Forgive my rudeness, would you like to meet everyone?”
“Yes, I would like that very much.” So the introductions began and included in those introductions were Destiny’s parents, Dan and Sylvia Granger. When Jesse had been introduced, Destiny asked if he and his band would like to join them.
“I’ll have to ask. By the way, is it okay if my grandmother joins us? She travels with me.”
“Of course, I’d love to meet her.” Jesse disappeared and reappeared a few minutes later with the band members and his grandmother. After one more table was added to accommodate the extra guests Destiny’s birthday party really began. That night she laughed as she never had before in her entire life, and had more fun in that one night than she had had in years. Jesse was one of the most down-to-earth people that Destiny had ever met but, most importantly, she could see that he was in love with Jesus Christ. After dinner Jesse and his band signed autographs for everyone at the table. After leaving the restaurant Jesse and Destiny stood in the parking lot after every guest from the party had left. The band decided to wait for Jesse in the car.
“Thanks for this, I had fun” said Jesse.
“No problem, my family and friends enjoyed meeting you. I had a wonderful time as well.” There was a pause before Jesse said, “The human side of me would to see you again but practically I know we both have to pray about it before we make that kind of decision.”
“I totally understand and feel the same way. We have to take some time to think about what the Lord would have us do from here: whether he would have us be friends or something more. So, what would you like to do Jesse?”
“I would like to spend some more time talking to you to see where this relationship is heading. We will know eventually where God would like us to go.” They exchanged telephone and e-mail information. Then they separated for the second time, each hoping that the plan of God would be what was in both of their hearts.