Facebook reminded me today that I made a very special trip a couple years ago. Let me set the stage: 9/4/16 – Doug was recovering from TWO MONTHS off work from pneumonia. He was barely well enough to be left alone with our son who was 3. My Dad – who helped me bring home the marimba 7 months earlier – was recovering from a horrific accident in April. All summer was consumed with just keeping things up. I was practicing with the intent to perform but had no clear direction, no idea of my musical identity, and certainly no clue of what to do as a freelance musician. About ten days prior I’d seen a viral video of a guy playing a weird instrument outside in his backyard surrounded by family. Something in me screamed “THAT’S IT! That’s the vibe you’re after! Follow THAT!” So, after Sunday service I hopped in the car and drove about 2 hours south to a music festival where Ted Yoder was performing. My prayer on the way down was “God just give me a few minutes to learn a couple things from this guy.” I was expecting a great concert and I was HOPING for a few minutes and a hand shake.
I think if I could’ve seen God in that moment He would’ve smirked and said “Here, hold My beer!” (if that bothers you I’m sorry – Jesus had wine, so…)
Two years later I’m STILL holding the holy beer because God hasn’t let up! Ted brought his wife and kids to that show and I met some of my best friends that day. A few questions (that I prayed for) turned into a couple investing back into me and Doug and inviting us into their lives.
Can you just stop and ponder that for a second: imagine when you discovered your favorite musician (the one you’d bust a whole paycheck on if you had the chance to get VIP tickets), and then getting the opportunity less than two weeks later…and they become your FRIENDS!? – Not the “oh I had one conversation with them a couple months ago” friends but the ones that have 24/7 access and see your dirty dishes and dust bunnies when they visit – THOSE friends. Yeah, that happened…I was holding the beer. God was just getting started.
This couple guided us to other people and resources that literally helped create Resonate150 and start our musical ball rolling…so I’m like “Here God, here’s your beer back” and He’s like “No, hang onto it for a bit” – next thing I know my aunt is telling me she has a hammered dulcimer stashed away (same brand as Ted’s) and I’m welcome to borrow it! Ok now someone please tell me what the odds are of meeting your favorite musician, getting to be their friend, then having a relative offer the chance to play the same uncommon instrument!? That was July 2017.
There’s SO MUCH I’m skimming over, so many times I’ve thought “somebody pinch me, is this for real!?” One thing I wish was not for real is that we lost my Dad this past March. It was unexpected, and one week after his 68th birthday – which he spent in ICU on a ventilator. Yet even in this dark time God has provided amazing support for us through many people. The same family I met at a concert just praying for a few minutes to chat is the family that stopped (kids included) at our house just a few days after Dad passed away just to be with us and share a meal before heading south for an extended music tour. We don’t put them on pedestals as idols, but we do value their presence in our lives! Heartbroken, I was still holding that holy beer as God continued to provide above and beyond what I had prayed for. Did I pray for Dad? – yes, absolutely. Do I know why God didn’t answer those prayers but blew me away with others? – not a freakin clue, but I still love and trust Him.
Today I’m less than two weeks away from driving my family to Winfield KS for the Walnut Valley Festival. I’ll be competing for the National Hammered Dulcimer Championship title
…after playing for 1 year.
…being mentored by my favorite musician, who happens to be a former champion, who is one of my dearest friends, who is married to one of my dearest friends.
…on an instrument that, when I picked it up, the builder (also a former champion) played Southwind on it – my aunt’s favorite song – as a demo for me. He had no idea that was her favorite song.
…I’m still holding the beer.
It got warm.
I don’t even like beer.
But as long as God’s doing crazy stuff like this, I’m happy to hang on to it!
Oh, and here's one of the few shots I took at the concert 2 years ago: