Friday, July 14, 2006

in the beginning...was the drum

A small chapter of my life ended last night. Eight beautiful people treated me to a beer at Sweeney's, a local patio bar in St. Paul. They have taught me much in the last months, composing the better part of a drum circle that I have led ever since Robin Bragge died.

She was the drumming icon at St. Paul-Reformation Lutheran Church ("SPR", the one which I attend, easily enough considering I work in the same building), and when she died, grieving surrounded the congregation and community. I had met her a few times, always enjoying her HUGE djembe with which she filled the sanctuary with joyful rhythms. The first time I met her, I was in town during a road trip last summer, and Lulu and I had visited SPR because, well, it was SPR, for crying out loud. I mean, let's be honest.

On a whim, I told her I had my djembe in the back of our car, and she should come see it. She became giddy with excitement, asking me to show her. Wow, I thought. I'm supposed to be the one that's giddy. She admired my drum as I had admired hers from afar. She was all smiles that day. I thanked her for her time, and she headed out, massive drum in hand.

Robin played with passion. Her spirit has guided - and will continue to guide - the drums that sound from SPR.

I inherited both the drum circle and the chance to play with the choir from Robin. I have always been wary of this fact, this sad twist: The only reason I have played as much as I have is because Robin is gone.

Yet her spirit lives on, and what better instrument to honor someone whose life has ended? Drums have a physicality that lends them a wonderfully visceral aspect. They speak when they play. You know when a drum is being used. You can hear it from blocks away.

And so our drum circle, from its humble beginnings in the basement, let out a joyful Hallelujah! at the July 9 service. We ushered in the gospel with rockin' beats that forced the mostly Scandinavian crowd to get up and dance!

We shared the good news. We played our hearts out. Thanks be to God! Thanks be to Robin.

Thanks be...to our drum circle, now and always.

25 Comments:

At 2:16 PM , Blogger Ross said...

I also miss Robin and her drumming. I wish I could have gotten more, but I'm not sure how much "Robin-time" would ever be enough.

 
At 11:03 AM , Anonymous Kimmi said...

As I was reading this, I kept thinking "why does that name sound familiar?" It's because Robin was also involved with Youth Encounter. During homecoming on August 12th, YE will be presenting a special Alumni Award tribute in honor of Robin Bragge. I did not get to meet her but she has been loved and missed by many people. Just thought I'd share that little tidbit. It's amazing how small of a world it can be.

 
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