Other clues come from concert demeanor. Reviewers have regularly put into words what I sensed as well: “He looked downright somber.?…gloomy Cross?… took potshots at himself, even calling attention to his ‘has-been’ status.” The best evidence, though, comes from Cross’ own words in interviews: “My fall from grace was traumatizing, very hard to deal with and very disappointing and disillusioning. Success is like money—it’s much harder to have it and then not have it than never to have it at all.” Now, he says, his reminder of past and present comes when some “sweet young thing” asks him for an autograph for her grandmother, an ardent fan.
Christopher Cross, despite his first name and surname, showed no indication in Austin of faith in Christ. He and all of us need to combine the familiar words of chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes—“For everything there is a season?…?a time to be born, and a time to die”—with those at the Bible’s conclusion in Revelation 21 and 22. That’s where God promises to “wipe away every tear” and create a new heaven and a new earth with a tree of life yielding fruit each month: no more barren seasons.
Maybe Cross is starting to get it. His latest album, Doctor Faith, has a last song, “Prayin’” that includes these lines: “Frozen in time while the calendar pages / Are falling like leaves from a tree / Getting the sense I’m connected to something / And not sure what’s happening to me.” He says he was once “A Catholic school kid in thrall to the altar / The rituals moved me somehow / I left it behind when I learned how to think / So it’s funny that suddenly now—I’m prayin’?…?deep in my soul / Prayin’ / Tryin’ to surrender control / ’Cause thoughts in my head keep me in hell.”