I hate to cry. I really do. But there’s been an awful lot to cry about lately. Especially today with the loss of such a dear man. I am also a writer so one of the ways I naturally process things is through the written word, or through a song. Since it’s hard to let the music breathe through my tears, I thought I would write instead.
Maurice Carter. One man I never thought I would ever say ‘goodbye’ to, had the kind of Christ-filled life and sweet spirit (though he could get on to you as well) that I just knew God would leave around so we would know who to follow at the rapture. However, Maurice, after being missing since Friday, has been found to have passed away.
God was really showing off when He created Maurice!
See, Maurice always knew how to draw you closer to Jesus. Didn’t matter if it was the first time he met you, or if you’d been friends for years the Holy Spirit was so at work in his life that when he spoke, the angels stopped to listen because lives were about to be changed.
We were at a choir conference in SC when I was just 8 weeks pregnant with Ethan. Maurice was only one of two people on the trip who knew at the time. Maurice knew the whole story. He smiled through the tears in his eyes as he assured me that God had a plan for my life and this baby’s life.
He wept over my pain, rejoiced over the miracle, prayed over my body and sang to me as we got ready to lead the conference into worship. On our way home his smile was so bright as I told him about the word God gave me during our concert for one of the attendees.
Growing up in the Baptist church, the idea of hearing from the Holy Spirit was one thing, but the idea of actually speaking into someone’s life a word you believe you had received from the Holy Spirit… well that just didn’t happen.
That night as Landy lead our crew of singers and musicians, this one lady stood out to me as if a spotlight was shining down on her. I’ll never forget standing there and feeling like God was saying “Kaci, you need to talk to that woman.” Not only do you need to talk to her but you need to say specifically “Your son is coming home and your family will be restored.” As I stood there single and 8 weeks pregnant Maurice’s words kept echoing in my ear. “Kaci, when you think you can’t, that’s when God will.” God did have a plan for me and this night it was to talk to that woman.
As I approached her, shaking, I told her she would probably think I was crazy, but I felt like God wanted me to tell her “Your son is coming home and your family will be restored.”
As I spoke these words, I fully expected her to laugh at me, eyebrows raised being approached by a choir kook and brush me off. What happened was quite the opposite. This lady from NC burst into tears and grabbed my arm. She said “I don’t know who you are, but my son is a single dad and things aren’t good for him. He is raising his daughter on his own and I was praying that entire concert that God would just bring him home.”
As I told Maurice what happened, that ever so familiar smile returned to his face of “see, I told you…” but it was the kind you knew was rejoicing with you as his sister. He was also the first to laugh when he realized during a church service as a man gave a prophetic word that I thought he was speaking in tongues and that low and behold I, KACI ALLEN, was the one with the interpretation. (that’s another blog all in itself!!)
Oh – and on the way home, the bus driver hit a tree and the branch busted through the front window shattering glass on us, Maurice being one of the ones front and center… it was an “oh no he didn’t” laugh as soon as we realized we were all ok.
Maurice has also always been such an encouragement to me in the music industry as well. He’s been a sounding board for lyrics, tunes and even helped me connect for vocal sessions with producers I hadn’t met yet. I remember one day he was complimenting my versatility and said “I never know if I’m about to hear the black Kaci, or the country Kaci or if you’re gonna bust out some rock.” We have both been privileged to sing lead and BGVs for some amazing artists and writers and had a second home at Starbucks and a 3rd in the studio.
As the storm clouds roll in across the Nashville sky this afternoon, it’s as if the earth is grieving along with us. I believe God sees our hurt and pain and perhaps for a brief time, the weather is matching what our insides just don’t know how to express.
I don’t want anyone to suffer and would never wish death upon anyone, but I find myself wanting to barter with God and say “couldn’t you have taken so and so, and them, and that lady or what about that other guy… you know the one… or take 2 or 3 of them instead” and offer up 3 or 4 alternatives to Maurice. I want to scream, I want to cuss, I want to shake my fist and cry out and demand answers for why there is so much pain in this world. I think to myself, God, weren’t Eric & Emmy enough young souls… why Maurice too all these years laters. IT’S JUST NOT FAIR!!
And even though sometimes I don’t hear God as clearly as I’d like to, I still recall that tenor voice, confident, assured and loving and imaigne it would be saying “Oh girl, don’t cry for me… you have no IDEA what heaven is like! We weren’t even CLOSE to having it figured out. There are no words, no songs that will ever describe how glorious it is to be with our maker.” I imagine Maurice sitting with Jesus, not asking why so soon, but pointing saying “Hey look… that guy hasn’t prayed in 10 years, we weren’t so sure he ever would… and he’s talking to you now!!”
Maurice was one of the most creative talents I have ever met, but what will most live on for me is his intense love and passion for loving God first and then loving others.
I am honored and blessed that God would allow me to walk with him these last 12 years. My insides are hurting and I wish I could re-wind the last couple days and stop this from happening. I won’t enjoy another “nasty” at Starbucks with him, or another hug, or prayer, or song… but most of all I will miss his smile.
The last words Maurice said to me were after we planned a coffee date were “I love you and see you later.” Never goodbye, just see you later and take care.
Maurice Carter – There has never been another man like him, and I doubt there ever will. We rejoice and glory in your life and will miss you like crazy until we meet again!
I love you – see you later.