The invitation arrived by email.
Would I like to spend a couple days with TobyMac at his lake house in Tennessee?
To be clear, I was invited along with about a dozen other radio people. We would all get to hang out with Toby and sleep over at his lake house. I knew that one-on-one time with Toby wasn’t really going to happen, but I was still excited. I was also really pumped about the cornhole tournament scheduled after dinner. Apparently, Toby is a pretty fantastic player, but I can hold my own. Could I beat him?
I flew into Nashville and then joined the other guests for the 90-minute ride to Tims Ford Lake. I don’t know what image pops into your mind when you think about a lake house, but as we pulled into the gravel driveway I was underwhelmed. The house and property were very modest. I looked at the house and the group and wondered where we were all going to sleep. I still don’t know how we all fit into that house, but I would spend the night with three other guys in a room with two bunk beds. I wasn’t too optimistic that sleep would be happening that night. Oh well, I was still at TobyMac’s lake house. How cool is that?!
After I got my stuff settled in, we all gathered on the deck overlooking the lake.
Toby soon arrived and before long, a bunch of us were on his boat exploring the lake. When I was growing up, my grandparents had a boat that I spent a lot of time on. This brought back a lot of warm memories of those years. Not exactly one on one, but during the boat ride I mentioned to Toby that one of his songs was a favorite for Ava’s (my wife) running playlist. Toby was excited to hear that. He said that’s what he had in mind for the song.
Later, back at the house, we enjoyed a nice dinner on the deck. I was sitting at a picnic table with Toby and others. He told us he was excited about the new jet ski being delivered the next day. He told us about his son who has a chronic condition, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, which was slowly taking away his mobility. Toby said he bought the jet ski so his son could feel the freedom to explore the lake while he still was able. Toby’s emotions were strong. The love of a father’s heart was powerful.
After dinner, it was time for some corn hole.
I won’t bury the headline. I bombed out of the tournament in the first round. It was not pretty. But after the tournament ended, I teamed with Toby’s nephew to play against Toby and another radio guy. We won! I beat Toby Mac in corn hole!!
Soon it was time for bed. Turns out sleeping in the bunk room wasn’t as bad as I thought.
The next morning we were served breakfast and then gathered on the deck to hear some new songs from new artists on his record label, including Ryan Stevenson.
We still had several hours before we had to leave, so we had some more fun on the lake. Toby decided to hang back to wait for the jet ski to arrive so he could surprise his son. I did a little paddleboarding, and I rocked that because the water was calm. Then there was one more spin in the boat, where I tried wakeboarding. I could not get the hang of it. I didn’t give up easily, though. I probably should have. I felt it for the next two days.
When we returned to the lake house Toby was busy with the new jet ski. He was very excited for his son.
I was happy he had given us a glimpse into his real life even if I didn’t get any one on one time. I didn’t expect it and was perfectly fine with how the two days had played out. We all ate a quick lunch and finished packing our stuff. Slowly we all meandered into the yard waiting for the shuttle to take us back to Nashville.
It was a great couple of days and I knew I would remember this trip warmly for many years. But, there was one surprise remaining.
As we were waiting, Toby approached me. He thanked me for coming and then asked if there was anything he could pray for. I’m not one who easily opens up to someone else unless I feel like they are genuinely interested, but Toby was, so I told him about a challenge one of my children was walking through. I didn’t rush the story because Toby was engaged and asking questions. I finished and Toby said he would pray.
I knew he would.