Music

Fleetwood Mac and landslides that lead to blessing

Amanda Cleary Eastep

Well, I've been afraid of changing

'Cause I've built my life around you

But time makes you bolder

Even children get older

And I'm getting older too

Oh, I'm getting older too

- “Landslide,” Fleetwood Mac

I had been singing these lyrics in the shower for weeks in anticipation of the Oct. 4 Fleetwood Mac concert in Chicago. Between the stellar acoustics and the sinus infection, I sounded exactly like Stevie Nicks.

At this point in my life, Nicks’ “Landslide” holds more meaning for me now than when I sang it in front of my bedroom mirror in the early ’80s. Next year could bring a landslide of change: a son marrying, one daughter graduating college and the other leaving for the mission field.

And there’s me at the foot of the mountain bracing for impact.

Nicks faced a potentially major change in her life when she wrote the song in the ’70s. She sang those words on stage at Chicago’s United Center after decades of changes, and I was listening to her with my 17-year-old daughter and 68-year-old mother. 

The band itself experienced a change this year with the return of keyboardist and vocalist Christine McVie after a 16-year hiatus. Nicks was my favorite band member when I was rocking out to Tusk as a teen, but I was struck by McVie’s recent interview with the Chicago Sun-Times. I like that McVie is 71. That she overcame a debilitating fear of flying. That she admitted her intended paradise of a house in the country had instead become a reclusive way of life that was not really living. And that she once again answered the call of the music.

The songbird returned to the nest. What a change for her. For the band. For the fans.

Thousands of us witnessed it that night, probably contemplating the changes in our own lives. Sitting beside my mother and my daughter, who admitted a secret I shared at her age (“I have a little crush on Lindsey Buckingham”), how could I not be hyper-aware of transition? The audience - mostly middle-aged parents only standing up to get another beer or go to the bathroom - reflected it.

Our loving God continuously summons us out of our pretend paradises.

On stage, Fleetwood Mac spent over two hours performing the music that had once only emanated from the Sears stereo I got for my 13th birthday. That music now showed me how “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow, it’ll soon be here” was prophetic.

My children are getting older. Am I bolder? Or am I fearful of flying?

McVie’s story reminded me of the way we can pull away from things like our life’s work or God. We create a reclusive life in the country with our dogs believing that will make us happy and keep us safe. Our fears - whether of flying or failure or change - become our refuge.

But our loving God continuously summons us out of our pretend paradises. The Book of James talks about change. Not so much changes around us, but the changes we need to make in order for us to draw close to God. “Come near to God and he will come near to you.”

As McVie closed the second encore with “Songbird,” I felt happy. For her, for the band, for three generations loving the same music and for myself, because witnessing McVie’s comeback made me feel braver about the anticipated changes in my life.

My Tusk album is packed away in my parents’ basement, although I have never stopped listening to Fleetwood Mac’s music. That’s what makes great music. Even if it doesn’t speak to us in the way it did when we were 17, it may hold new meaning for us at 47.

Today I’m older and a little bolder, and I understand that change, no matter how difficult, can eventually bring a landslide of blessing.

Topics: Music, Culture At Large, Arts & Leisure, Home & Family, Family