At no point, do I want to be a 40-year-old guy putting on a pair of skinny jeans acting like I’m a lot hipper and younger than I am. I was never hip or cool in the first place. A record like Signs Of Life (buy), which is one of my favorite, has a lot of guitar playing, swampy influence and even blues. [There was a lot of variety] through the ’90s, doing songs like “Dive” and making a record like Speechless (buy). There was some music that was moving and inspiring me around that time that I was even rediscovering or discovering for the first time that touched something in me in a deep place. It’s like, “I’m going to move with that flow, creatively.”

The easiest answer is, I’m trying to be a student through all of it—continuing to listen and continuing to be influenced. I love my sons loving music and being in a band, because all the time they’re bringing me, “Dad, have you heard this new record from The Killers? You’ve got to check out this new Kings Of Leon record. You would really dig these songs.” That’s been a good process to keep me listening and learning.

CCM: Switching gears… You cover Maria’s incident it so extensively in the book. Her memory is obviously with you every single day, but are you at a point now when a day can pass and you no longer remember the horrific details of the actual accident?
Oh yeah. I mean, for sure, there are days that it’s not sitting at the front of my mind or maybe even near the front. It’s always there. It’s interesting you would ask that, as my wife and I this very day—and this isn’t a daily occurrence—but it was today in some conversation that we were having and realized, “You know what, there’s probably still some more work, as they call it in the counseling world, or whatever, that we could and should do.” We just continue to work through the trauma, that day and that event and the impact of that on our lives and our kids. We’re constantly watching and aware of this incredibly traumatic event in our lives, aside from just the fact that there’s always that empty place at our table. There’s always that empty spot in the picture, like the family picture that we just took at Disney this last Christmas with our grand kids and everybody. There’s always that missing spot where Maria belongs.

Steven Curtis Chapman, CCM Magazine - image

photo: Jeremy Cowart

But by grace from God, it isn’t something that we live with every day, that we battle those most intense memories and all of that. It’s something that I think, as time goes, you are able to begin seeing more of that perspective that I talked about, which is why it felt like I could write the book now. It was also important for me to share my story one time and not talk about it and not hash it over and over. Obviously in the early months, there was a lot of discussion and interviews about our loss and the accident. But as time has gone on as a family, really more and more to honor my family, and just to take the steps forward, it’s not the centerpiece and sometimes isn’t even brought up in conversation.


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