‘Be prepared in season and out of season’

By Josh Beavers

On a scorching hot summer day, the heat radiated off the asphalt of the Wal-Mart parking lot. The air was thick and heavy, making each step a chore. I had been to the mega-store for various odds and ends,  and as I approached my truck, I noticed a man standing under the shade of a tree and strumming a guitar. A nearby speaker carried his voice across the concrete expanse. He had a weathered yet clean-shaven face. No wide-brimmed hat or ball cap shielded his eyes from the blazing sun. The combination gave him a rugged quality and the impression of being a man on a mission. One of dedication, compassion, and the utmost importance. In his hands, he held the instrument, its strings worn and faded.

Curiosity got the better of me, and I found myself drawn to the sound that echoed through the parking lot. The man, Clayton Dyess, strummed the guitar with a delicate touch, his fingers dancing across the frets as he sang gospel songs with a voice that carried both strength and vulnerability.

I approached him, and he looked up, his eyes twinkling with warmth and kindness. He greeted me with a smile and a “yes sir.” When I asked him what he was doing out in the hottest part of the hottest day of the hottest summer in a long time, he simply told me “Lifting up Jesus through song.”  

I nodded, feeling the soulful melodies stir something deep within me. I told him who I was and asked if he wouldn’t mind me writing a story on his little concert. Clayton chuckled, his weathered hands continuing to strum the guitar.

“Sure,” he said. “I just play wherever I can, spreading the Lord’s message through these old songs. I felt led to sing here today.”

As the music filled the air, I couldn’t help but be captivated by Clayton’s passion. He shared stories of his life, how he had once been lost in the darkness, but found redemption through his faith and music. He told me of appearances on national television, of prison ministries, of lives irrevocably changed by the Word.

He has traveled far and wide, spreading the gospel through his songs, finding solace in the hearts and souls of those who listened. Clayton believes that music is a conduit for healing, that it can bring people together, bridging divides and offering hope in the most unlikely of places.

As the scorching sun beat down upon us, Clayton’s voice carried on, his fingers strumming the guitar with a fervor that defied the heat. People passing by stopped to listen, their weary expressions transforming into smiles as the music washed over them. He handed out complimentary CDs and some people donated to the cause. A few dollars here and there, but it’s not about nickels and dimes.

Clayton’s music is a balm for the soul, a gentle reminder that even in the most challenging times, there is beauty and hope to be found. His words resonated in my heart, lifting my spirits and filling me with a sense of peace.

As the day drew to a close, the sun began its descent, casting a warm glow across the parking lot. Clayton finished his last song, the final notes lingering in the air before slowly fading away.

He made his way to his beat-up car to continue his journey to the next town, where more hearts awaited his music. As we parted, the echoes of his gospel songs lingered in my mind, a reminder of the power of music and the indomitable spirit of those who share it with others.

His words were a promise that no matter how hot the journey gets, there’s always music to guide us. 

More information about Clayton Dyess’ “Music with a Message” and his ministry can be found via Google search. He may be reached via call or text message at 318-602-1596.

(Josh Beavers is an award-winning writer and author. He has earned more than 40 individual writing awards and is syndicated in 12 North Louisiana news journals. The Louisiana Press Association has recognized him five times for excellence in opinion writing, and he has earned numerous Best Investigative Reporting Awards and Freedom of Information Awards for exposure of governmental corruption in Webster Parish.)