If you went to Furman University, there’s a good chance you feel personally responsible for the success of Needtobreathe.
Long before opening for Taylor Swift’s Speak Now tour in 2011, Bear and Bo Rinehart played relentlessly for Furman’s collegiate crowd. Fraternity parties, McAlister Auditorium, Homecomings, you name it– they were there and ready to sing out, sing out. (lyrics joke!) And rightly so, since these down-home boys grew up just down the road from Furman in Possum Kingdom, South Carolina. Yes, that’s a real place.
But if anyone has a reason for fond memories of Needtobreathe, it is Furman graduates Melissa and Scott Greenwood.
Amidst pomped homecoming floats and gratuitous sugary confections–Melissa, then 18, and Scott, then 19–met on the Furman Mall. Neither had dated seriously before, and as their relationship began to grow, Melissa realized something strange was happening. It wasn’t getting worse.
“It just kept getting better and better!” she said recently, remembering back to their early dating days. In fact, it did continue to get better–even in the midst of a crisis.
Melissa contracted meningitis during her sophomore year at Furman. In horrendous pain, Melissa allowed Scott to drive her halfway to Birmingham, to meet up with her father. She said one thing to Scott during that trip, and it wasn’t I love you.
“I only said one thing to him the whole ride,” Melissa remembers, “Don’t touch me. Pull over so I can throw up.”
In sickness and in health, right? It’s amazing how relationships can solidify during our greatest moments of weakness, in the midst of helplessness. Sadly, our culture is built upon the idea that you can–no you must have it together to be valuable, loveable, and worthy. Scott and Melissa have continued to build their relationship upon the fact that they don’t.
“I don’t think we could love each other well if we did not recognize our own brokenness and need for our Savior. Mostly, Jesus helps us forgive one another by constantly reminding us of his ultimate sacrifice for us.”
The Greenwood’s recognize their need. Their philosophy is similar to that of the band that played in the background the night they met. Remember Needtobreathe?
They based their name on a story about Socrates. As the story goes, a student asked, “how will I know if I’m really seeking God?’ Socrates answered by holding the student’s head underwater, and not letting him up. When he finally did–the student was angry, and gasping for breath. Socrates replied, “When you need God like you need to breathe, you’ll know you’re really seeking after God.”
Recognizing need is a requirement for receiving love.
Special thanks to Melissa for sharing her sweet story with me this week! More stories to come!