pa rum pum pum pum

I am that little child with that flimsy toy drum strapped around his angular little boy shoulder. Come, they told him. The sticks strike that moon face, commanding air and passers-by to listen to the rhythm, the foolish parade of one. I am that simple, repeat refrain. And even then, he does it better. He found the drum and the sticks and the bravery to begin.

Honest talk, I’m getting a little worked up facing this blank page. I am sad for being gone, sad for not playing my song (foolish as it sounds), sad for hiding my gift under a bushel basket full of distractions – mindless social media and early bedtimes with a tired brain.

My wet mess of a face almost matches the mess I meant to clean in our apartment when Pat left with Zella two hours ago. I don’t know why, but imagining myself into the story of the little drummer boy is just so exactly where I am right now. I guess the small gesture – lifting strap over shoulder and calling on a hidden, inner repertoire – convicts all my defenses.

Whew, I didn’t know I needed this kind of cry – let me take a moment. Let’s all take a moment.

I know – it’s not technically Christmas music. But sometimes the song beating rhythms behind our ribcage isn’t jingling bells. Most times, in my case. The Advent season is not triumphant. It is precious beauty, but it is sad too. We are the reason Jesus came all the way down, all the terrifying way down, from celestial glory to stomachs growling and torrential storms. I am both loved by this act and reminded that there was reason for His condescension. I am the reason.

My proneness to wander so pressed on the heart of God until it broke Him and compassion poured out in the real life of a little babe.

 

Anyway, I salute you – little boy and your silly pa rum pum pum pum refrain. Thanks for being brave enough to bang on your drum and make a grown woman cry while thinking about it. Here is me striking my drum in your honor.

little things

I have a whole box of random things we’ve exchanged over the years – a wooden piggy bank from a thrift store and a tiny pencil drawing from Germany and a bouquet of plastic flowers from the dollar store in Waterloo, Iowa. Of all the things I could choose to bring to New York, my box of random gifts from Patrick would definitely raise the eyebrows of my minimalist friends.

When he came back from a work trip upstate last fall, he brought several treasures… including this little, red bird caller keychain. I love to picture his face when he gave it to me as he produced an identical one from his own pocket and proudly demonstrated the quiet, high-pitched squeak.

that little red thing squeaks like a little bird
that little red thing squeaks like a little bird

He loves the little things and he invites me to love them, too. It’s hard not to be amused by the question that accompanies every tissue covered treasure, “Isn’t this awesome?”

Because it is, all of it, and I have to grow my eyes bigger to take it in. I generally consider myself a joyful, wonder-filled human – more like the junior high students I work with during the day than the adults I hang out with at night. But, Patrick’s curiosity and love of little things inspires me to take notice, to consider what I might have overlooked.

And this is why I am saying good night to Henry, my statue pet pigeon (who now lives in the decorative bird cage Yeun gave me). I didn’t get the full story on the pigeon, but I imagine Patrick thought it a fitting gift for NYC living because pigeons seem to survive so well here. But (and thank goodness) it’s not just about surviving. Henry is my reminder that ordinary things have stories.

Ordinary days, where I am just an average human doing average things, are beautiful because they are made up of many little stories. Maybe Patrick and one of my favorite sages would be good friends…

“There are no uninteresting things, only uninterested people.”
– G.K. Chesterton