David Archuleta by R4D

David Archuleta by R4D

Another of R4D’s mesmerizing composites. Click to enlarge. Visit R4D’s new site at David Deviations.

One of the blessings of being an Archupostle in the age of the Internet is being able to read so many stories about the impact David has on so many people. You’ll recall that long before the tour even started, Linha had compiled a book of stories from a wide range of individuals whose lives had been touched, in some cases significantly altered, by David’s music and by his very presence in their lives. Then came the tour, when fans could actually encounter David in the flesh. These stories were naturally brimming with joy, and occasionally with some intense emotion.

One of the privileges of being an Archuwriter is that people sometimes share things with me that they might not share with even their own family or friends. There has grown within the Archufan community a level of trusted communication that tends to be about considerably more than just a love and admiration for a terrific performer. Because–let’s face it–David Archuleta is considerably more than that. A short time ago I received an email that detailed an encounter with David that ranks among the most moving I have ever read. She had no intention at the time of bringing it to the public. As we discussed her experience, and shared it with those who had familiarity with such events, it began to become clear that sharing the story would be of great interest and even of great help to many. Heartfelt gratitude to the author for allowing me the honor of sharing it.

Just a comment or two as a prologue.

There are many triggers to spiritual awakening in the world. It has a lot to do, I believe, with what one is ready for, what one responds to naturally, and how spiritually available one is. There are many practices, religious and otherwise, whose very intent is to cultivate a releasing of the psychological limitations we to tend to cling to because they seem to give us some measure of control in what feels like a chaotic and inexplicable world. The ‘releasing’ that happens when the spiritual trigger occurs can be profound.

I once spent an entire week at Omega learning yoga, which, as many of you undoubtedly know, can be much more than a physical practice. Somewhere into the third consecutive day of poses and postures, I began weeping uncontrollably. The depth of the practice had brought my body and my mind to a place of release that allowed my spirit to flow like it had rarely done before. My tears were of deep joy.

My own first spiritual awakening related to David was (as it was with so many people) during “Imagine.” About two-thirds of the way into the performance, I found myself laughing with the most unbridled joy I had felt in a very long time. Thinking back on it, I was reminded of a line from A Room With A View by E.M. Forster, which interprets beautifully that moment for me:

“On the other side of the everlasting ‘why’, there is a ‘yes.’ And a ‘yes,’ and a ‘yes’!”

David has been a trigger of awareness, clarity, peace, insight, joy, and healing for many people in his short time as an internationally known performer. The stories are as varied as the people who tell them. But the common thread is a young man with a gift, a gift he has only just begun to bestow upon the world.

Here is our dear friend’s story.

My dream of getting an after-party pass to meet David finally happened with my fourth AI show. Standing in front of him was completely surreal. I felt like I knew all about him, yet here he was, meeting me for the first time. He stood there, patiently waiting for the next person, ready for anything, with an air of kindness and serenity. I didn’t need a photo or an autograph, I just wanted to give him gifts and thank him as an artist.

I introduced myself (grew up in Salt Lake, now a music teacher on the west coast), gave him my gifts (my book of peace canons that I wrote with some other music teacher friends, plus some other gifts) and spoke my carefully thought-out sentences. I think I said something like, “Your music means so much to me. I admire you as an artist because you are able to connect hearts and souls, to really get to the deep meaning of music. And although part of this is a gift”–I remember that his look was intense here–“part of it is hard work, and passion, and dedication, and I thank you for all of your hard work that makes this possible.”

His effect on me was profound. After a warm and generous hug, I left to make room for the next fans. Then I fell on the floor. Literally. I put my hands to my heart and collapsed to the ground. After a moment, I reached out a hand, and a nearby fan helped me up. I found myself next to Brett. (I had met Brett and Cindy Hales at the show and immediately took a liking to them. We have LDS and Utah in common, although I left the church when I went to college decades ago. Brett has some great stories about David, and I loved hearing him talk.) So… I found myself unable to speak, crying on Brett’s shoulder, until finally I could get out the words, “His music means a lot to me.”

The truly surreal part of this was, I wasn’t one bit embarrassed or worried about my strange behavior. I was in some kind of heightened awareness, and felt surrounded by love. I chatted with Jeff and Lupe and Brett and Cindy and felt completely at home and comfortable.

The after-party group was small, and I decided to approach David again. We talked about the graphic I had made for the front of his bag. I had spelled out the word, JOY, using words to make the letters. J was made up of familyfriendsfamilyfriends, O was churchfaithchurchfaith, and Y was fans and music.  I said that his music gives me so much joy that I thought about what gives him joy. I asked him if I had been accurate. He said, “Yeah, pretty much. The fans are a new thing, but the other things are what keep me grounded.”

Later on I was talking with Brett and I told him my experience when I heard David sing “Be Still my Soul” on YouTube. Brett was the one organizing the fireside and he had invited David to sing and to talk. Brett said he wished I could write down my story for David because he would love to hear it. I looked over at David and t here was only one person talking to him, so I approached him for the third time. I told David that I had been talking to Brett and that Brett had told me that he would like my story. I told him that I grew up LDS but haven’t been active for a long time. When I heard “Be Still My Soul,” it made me remember all the good things about the church, sitting on the wooden bench with my dad sitting next to me with all the peace and love surrounding me. I said I didn’t know if this was going to lead me back to the church, but that it had awakened my spirituality.

He smiled really warmly and turned to the side and spoke quietly, wanting to be more private.

“This is why I do this. This is why I can’t get a big head, because it’s not coming from me. That’s what I like about it, it’s all in the music, you don’t have to say anything.”

“It sounds weird to say that I love you,” I replied, “but I love what you are doing in the world.”

I got my second hug of the evening.

Back at my motel I was still completely blown away. What just happened? I’m still processing my experience.

In preparing this article, I read our friend’s story many times. My heart got full on every reading. I had tears of joy on several occasions. David is a seventeen year-old guy with human foibles and faults just like the rest of us. But his power is real and his effect on people is true. My only sadness is that David Archuleta will never know what it’s like to be the recipient of the blessing that is David Archuleta.