I dare say that few people enjoy recalling moments of public embarrassment. Sometimes however, itís worthy and perhaps even therapeutic to reflect on the humorous elements of such occasions. With that said, I have come to understand that there were some who found the following event somewhat amusing. It occurred several years ago at a local church. First, step into my shoes and I'll bring you into my world:
Climbing the stage stairway in near darkness, I approach the entrance to the drum kit enclosure and swing open the sound deadening door. Crouching down, I navigate through an array of percussive equipment and ensconce myself on the drummer's throne. Everything is arranged for optimal performance and all necessary microphones are in place. Essential headphones dangle close by, ready for use. Anticipation grows exponentially as performance time draws nigh, almost ready to go live. Keyboards are in place. Bass, rhythm and lead guitars are tuned and ready to go. I remind myself to be careful....the microphones are hot, waiting faithful to amplify any sound they hear.
Thoughts of the first few measures race through my mind. Tempo....dynamics....don't forget to smile....we are there to lead worship, to bring penitent souls before throne of their Savior through His gift of music. At that very moment I pray: "Lord, not my will, not by my ability but by you grace, play through me, bring to my mind the correct succession of beats combined with a submissive, steady tempo."...or something to that effect. Then comes the release. I feel The Spirit guiding....leading....interceding....smoothing out the rough places, allowing me to make a joyful noise unto The Lord.
Sometimes however, the unexpected happens:
One Sunday morning there was a distinct, unmistakable sound that penetrated every eardrum during the close of the musical portion of the first service. As my musical efforts drew to a close and Pastor had come up to pray, I withdrew from the drum sarcophagus and proceeded out and down along with the other musicians. Suddenly, a momentary loss of muscular coordination proved to be the beginning of a few seconds that seemed to last for several minutes. Without authorization, a drumstick had jumped from my hands (Iím convinced at a moment of its own choosing) and landed on the platform top step of about six or so. Descending and gaining speed with each step, it proceeded to faithfully demonstrate Newtonís law of gravity. Up until now, only the Lord and myself were aware of the present situation but unfortunately the unforgiving hard, resilient tile floor lay inevitably in its path. I quickly calculated the time it would take me to silently leap down the flight of stairs in an effort to outrun this spinning piece of hardwood before it reached its destination. I concluded that this may have made matters worse and created more of a disturbance due to my current position and the stickís trajectory.
Then time slowed to an almost stand still. I watched (and listened) in panicked dismay as the stick made that first strike which was followed by innumerably more. In music, timing is everything. This was not good timing nor was it musical. Was this stick content with simply hitting the floor and bouncing a few times? No, this was a energetic projectile which insisted on continuing itís seemingly slow, ear piercing twenty foot journey to the far side of the sanctuary. I was never more aware of the nice clean, polished floors we had beneath us than at that moment. Nope, not one obstructive piece of dirt in the place. Finally it found a secure resting place against the far wall which coincided precisely with my experience of peak mortification.
Okay, so that last part was a bit over dramatized. Allow me to conclude by saying that in my twenty years of playing Sunday morning services I have yet to drop a drumstick in this manner. Iíve lost several over the drum kit and into the orchestra pit once or twice but never down a stairwell, across a hard, resounding floor in the middle of deafening silence for every ear to hear.