day 16/40: #40shoutouts40days


It was a Saturday night. All was still and quiet in our home. I was wrapped in my cherry red dressing gown, ready to blowdry my hair (because I actually had a shower!) and my husband sat in the living room chipping away at his thesis. All I could hear from the comfort of our bedroom was the familiar tapping of keys. Nothing more. I picked up the blowdryer.

I finished drying my hair and quiet returned to our bedroom. Except it wasn’t all that quiet. I thought, What the hell is going on in the living room?! I heard a cacophony of Beyonce nonsense. Steve had turned the television on and Bey was singing a medley of Stevie Wonder songs. I got angry. I charged into the living room.

Oh, Beyonce. Why? Why all the writhing around in a sequin MINI mini-dress? It was so unecessary. She was ruining the song with her antics.

Seconds later I realized that Stevie Wonder himself was in the audience. I audibly thanked God he didn’t have to see the spectacle. Then it all clicked. I was not witnessing a train wreck. Beyonce was the opening act for a Grammy tribute show set to honour Stevie Wonder. I made peace with Queen Bey and decided to take in the performance.

The show was enormously entertaining. Sometimes for the right reasons (LADY GAGA!) and sometimes for the wrong reasons (BEYONCE! Enough already. It’s not your show, honey.) There was so much talent on the playbill. I danced and laughed and sang along. Like always, I wept. Most of all, I fell in love with Stevie Wonder’s music all over again. (Seriously, how amazing is Lady Gaga’s rendition of I Wish?!)

As the show was wrapping up, he stood on stage bathing in applause. Eventually, the crowd paused long enough for Stevie to speak and what he said still gives me chills. His words rung in my ears and convicted me for the rest of the weekend. They still do.

“I cannot leave this stage – this building, this planet – without letting you all know how much I thank you. I love you. I don’t have to know you. I may have not ever met you or may never meet you but I want you to know that I love you.

I love you first of all because the God that I serve says we should love everyone. I also love you because it feels better to love than to hate. And I believe that if we can just come together, because we must come together, because we are at a spiritual warfare and we must, without question, let the world know that love is king and queen.”

That is a call to higher ground, Stevie. Not “I love you because you buy my music, you stroke my ego, you finance my lifestyle.” Not “I love you because you love me back and we have similar ideas about life.” Simply this: I love you because God commands it. If I say I love God, I seriously ought to obey his commands lest I be an empty vessel misrepresenting God’s self-sacrificing love for humanity in Jesus.

So Stevie, I’m not writing this because you have an incredible catalogue of music (but you do.) I’m not writing because you are so damn funny (but you are.) I’m just writing to say that I love you and I mean it from the absolute depths of my heart. Thank you for not taking God’s command to love people lightly. It challenged me to prayerfully consider my motives and reevaluate how I practically demonstrate love for all people, not just people who happen to love me back.

Elissa Joy

PS. If you missed the show, watch it here. It’s terrific if you ignore Beyonce.

2 thoughts on “day 16/40: #40shoutouts40days

  1. Melinda says:

    E! These posts are so beautiful. I’m nearly in tears with each one. And, I love you all the more with each word. AND I find myself wishing we’d walked more of these years together, because the lessons and truths are so similar. Although discovering that is a treasure all its own. xoxo.


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