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Me And My Drum

December 9, 2014

I don’t cry easily.

In fact, in my blessed lifetime, fortunately, I have had little to cry about.

Still, some things, both sad and joyful, can evoke emotions in me that yield tears from me like few things can.

I remember tearing up as a child when watching Disney’s Bambi movie when Bambi’s mother died.  Her last words were “Keep running”.  That was pretty sad.

I remember while in college seeing scenes from a movie on TV that surprised me to find emotions bubbling up in me and tears coming from my eyes.  I soon learned the name of that movie: Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life.  I hadn’t seen it before, but since have seen it dozens of times.  It still gets me.  Numerous scenes are so relatable in the human experience, and acted out with such genuine humanity.  I consider it my very favorite movie.

I cried when our bird died and wrote about that in Red, White and Belew.

I wept when my ex-wife and I lost a baby during a pregnancy.  I wrote on my blog about that previously in Saint Callistus Ember Novick.

I never cried so much as I did in the years of a recent divorce.  The pain and sorrow was more than I could bear. I tried to be strong in front of my kids. But on at least one occasion did cry talking to my oldest son about the divorce. I hope my kids never experience that type of helpless suffering.  I wouldn’t want that experience for anyone.  Still, too many feel the painful sting of that dagger and the overwhelming sorrow that goes with it.

My most painful cry may have in the middle of the divorce when I arrived at my parent’s home the morning my dad died.  Dad had been at home in hospice for weeks as he was dying from cancer that had spread from his lungs to his brain.  My mom had called me that morning to say I had better get over to their house soon as my dad’s breathing had become erratic in the night and she didn’t think he would last much longer.  I immediately headed to the house.  Upon my arrival, my mom met me at the door and told me that my dad had died a few moments earlier.  I went up to his bedside and sat in the chair beside him.  I saw his lifeless body and kissed his still-warm forehead.  I wept so helplessly with utter grief and tears welled up like waterfalls.  I loved my dad so much.  Losing a parent is hard.


Recently I was driving in my car and heard one of my favorite Christmas songs.  It too triggered something primitive in me that swelled up my emotions and triggered a tear.  It was a popular version of The Little Drummer Boy.


Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum
A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum
Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
When we come.

Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum
I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum
I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum
That’s fit to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,
On my drum?

Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.


Thinking about the little drummer boy and his drum reminded about another time I remember crying when I was younger.  It was watching The Little Drummer Boy animated Christmas special.


I tried figuring out where the emotion that The Little Drummer Boy had triggered had come from.

It had something to do with the gifts.  It had something to do with giving our best.  It had something to do with the honoring.   It had something to do with the King.  It had something to do with the smile. It had something to do with the drum.

The song isn’t really about the drum … or the drummer boy.  The song is about me.  The song is about you too.

We all have drums.  Each of us has a heartbeat that keeps us alive.  What we do with that gift of our lives is up to us.

For so much of my life I gave my very best.  Yet, it seems like it was not enough, to save my loved ones and me from loss.  Still, even in loss, I kept doing my best to move forward and keep giving my best, even when my best was not very good.  From a lifetime of love, and blessings, and faith, I drew from all that I had learned … to keep going … one day…one moment at a time.


To do my best for Him; to do my best for The Lord; even when my best wasn’t very good; even when I had very little left in the poverty of utter loss.

I still had my heartbeat.  I still had the gift of life.  I believed in Him.  And I believed I was still here going through it for a reason, even when I couldn’t see what that purpose was.

I knew that perhaps my story might one day be shared and help someone else going through suffering and loss to keep going … and to love Him too.

So might your story.

This is why I share this story with you today.

So wherever this holiday season finds you in life – whether experiencing birth, or death, or joys, or sorrows – may you find the heart to “keep running” and to ‘play your best for Him’.  And may He smile at you — you and your drum — this Christmas, and in the coming year.



And here is a link to another blog story I wrote previously with a video of one of my favorite versions of The Little Drummer Boy song in it.  The story is titled: Can It Be?



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