Bebo, is there a meaning behind your album title, Between the Dreaming and the Coming True?
There’s a great deal of meaning for me. I borrowed the title from a book I’d read by the same title by Robert Benton. It’s sort of a memoir about his struggle with depression and his struggle to find God in the middle of that. Although I haven’t struggled in my life with depression, I have struggled as much as most people in the daily ups & downs and the darkness that exists, and struggled to see who God is in the middle of that.
I think sometimes as a Christian Community sometimes we do a disservice to how big God is when we put on our happiest face and put our best foot forward. Sometimes we neglect in real honesty to show the weaknesses and the struggles we have. We do a disservice to how profoundly he works in those difficult and dark moments. All that to say, the title was really poignant to me.
For the last few years, I’ve been in a season of real peace, maybe feeling peace for the first time ever in my life. These songs are about that peace we have as believers in a world that is really difficult. We don’t exist just in the dark and difficult moments; we don’t just exist in the light and happy moments. We exist somewhere between the two.
Where do you think that peace came from?
That’s a great question. I don’t think I know the answer. I just know that the last few years have been pretty profound for me. It’s not that I still don’t struggle with my own form of doubt and confusion, it’s that somehow God gave me the perspective of a grander story
We’ll you were married three years ago, do you think marriage might be a source of that newfound peace?
I know that’s part of it. The way God has worked in this particular season of my life has been without question, undoubtedly, about falling in love and marrying my wife. As you know, marriage brings out the best and worse in you — and that’s a good thing — when those things are flushed out. You’re right.
Who inspires you?
That’s a big question. I think God works that out through the ordinary and mundane moments of life and usually, for me, that inspiration comes from the handful of people in my life who really know me. When you think about it, we live in small worlds. Jesus spoke to large groups of people, but the majority of his time by far was dedicated to time with a small group of people. For me, it’s my wife, my son, my father, the friendships in my life. It’s the week vacation I’m about to go on that I’ve done for eleven years in a row with these friends of mine. Those are the moments that inspire me.
I’m jealous. I’m visualizing you driving down to that cabin on the Georgia river…
[laughs] Well you should be because it’s a great trip!
If we were to checkout your iPod or the CD player in your car, what kind of music would we find? Every now and then I put in old records — not oldies or classics — just music I haven’t listened to in a while. I’m listening to an old Caedmon’s Call record called Forty Acres, I haven’t listened to that one in years and lately I can’t get enough of it. Also Jars of Clay, The Eleventh Hour. In terms of new stuff I’ve been listening to The Fray; and Patty Griffin has a new record out that I absolutely love. I’ve been listening to Mat Kearney a little bit lately… Oh, and Jackson Brown. Do you know Jackson Brown?
Sure, The Pretender…
He’s got a live record out that’s knockin’ me off my feet. I’ve always been a big fan of his.
How do you think marriage has affected your writing?
Well, I can tell you this, like you said, if this peace has been strangely coincidentally, not so coincidentally mixed in with marriage and now even fatherhood — and if this new record is about that peace, I’d say my marriage has affected my song writing tremendously. They make up what faith means to me and I can’t see the world without filtering it through faith.
And you’re a new father…
I am indeed. Eleven weeks today. A little boy, his name is Smith Everett Norman.
What a great name.
Thank you. It’s a bunch of last names, all family names.
So little Smith arrived just a few years into your married life. Any adjustments?
Yea. [laughs] We always said we would wait about five years, it ended up being around three-and-a-half years. It’s definitely an adjustment. I was talking to a friend about this, we’re not even finished with our forth year of marriage, it’s just a seamless process of adjustment. It’s definitely an adjustment, but it feels like a natural extension of my and my wife’s lives.
I think because marriage has been such a sweet season in my life, I was able to step back and say, as daunting as parenthood seems, I know God is in control of it, he’s telling a beautiful story with it. It just made sense in light of what we were experiencing in our marriage. But we say our son has plenty of time to turn on us [laughs]
[laughs] For a newly-married-new-father you speak words of wisdom.
Oh sure — I have a total of eleven weeks of wisdom to impart [laughs]
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