After 4 years in Switzerland, I have returned with my family to the USA. I’m currently in Nashville, working my new record, 1,000 Different Colors. Here’s the back-story…
We were still new to Switzerland when we walked into “The Connecting Zone” at International Christian Church (ICF) in downtown Zurich. It was a hot and crowded room, full of people from all over the world. Colorful flags from the nations hung across the ceiling and around the walls. I looked to find the Stars and Stripes, a comforting symbol of home in this foreign environment. Here, I was the foreigner. Our Swiss hosts served a dark meat and vegetable sauce over white rice while Europeans, Africans, South Americans, North Americans, Australians and Asians crammed together, eating and speaking languages I had never heard before.
I had no place in my brain for this. Living in a new country, walking into a room filled with scores of new languages, new cultures? To say, “it was a new experience” would be the understatement of the year.
Growing up on my granddaddy’s farm in Powhatan, Virginia, before they put in the first stoplight in our small town, I learned a lovely value of family roots, and a strong sense of community. I brought all this with me when I moved at 17 years old to Nashville, Music City, USA. I traveled a little bit in Europe; a couple of missions trips opened my eyes to living conditions in Mexico and Central America. Still, I admired the way my husband, Doug, related with ease to people from all over the world. His close friends were from India and Australia. His best man in our wedding was a missionary in Lithuania. He made frequent research trips to Panama and spoke decent Spanish. I could barely remember a few phrases of high school French. I longed for an international life experience.
I got one.
Over the next few months, we visited ICF, a brave new kind of church plowing the hard ground of Central Europe. Hundreds of teens and young families poured into a warehouse every Sunday, where the music was loud, the screens were big, and the pastor had spiked hair and looked just like Keifer Southerland. I had grown up in church, and sung in quite a few of them, but I had never seen anything like this. So many things differently done, and yet the passion and love for Jesus was evident in the hearts of the people.
After the services, back in The Connecting Zone, I became friends with Abraham from Ghana, Eloise from Peru, Eli from South Africa, Edward from New Zealand, and many others, and learned about their different cultures. It was as if I had only seen blue my whole life; now I was beginning to understand the reds, oranges, yellows, greens, and purples of the world.
One Tuesday evening as we all gathered for worship, our friend, Matt Bossard from Switzerland, shared this story: He had been on holidays to the south of France, where he enjoyed watching the sunset over the Mediterranean every evening. “Everyone says the sea is blue,” he said. “…but it’s not. It sparkles with 1,000 different colors.”
This was a revelation.
My whole life, I was trying to paint the world with one color: The sea is blue. But it’s not just blue…the sea is 1,000 different colors.
In Switzerland, I learned this lesson: We try to make things simple. We say, “Trees are green. The sky is blue.” But the falling autumn leaves, the sunset sky…they are 1,000 different colors. We do this with people sometimes, too. We say, “She is like this. He is like that.” But we are, each one of us, 1,000 different colors. We say, “God is like this.” But, the ways He leads us, the ways He reveals Himself to us, the ways He shows Himself in nature all around us…God is 1,000 different colors.
And so I have a new song, and a new album, 1,000 Different Colors. The songs are about hope and healing, seeing the world and God in new ways.
“The sky is not blue…the sky is like You:
1,000 different colors, moving all together
More beautiful, more beautiful than words.”
Even more special is the way people from all over the world are coming together to make this music happen. We are 1,000 Different Colors. If you’d like to learn more and be a part of the making of this album, visit: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/audreywoodhams/audreys-new-album-1000-different-colors.