The Day Jesus Gave Me a Conga Drum

river by library

I made one New Year’s Resolution this year. O N E.

It was this: Take one day a week and work on your writing.  I’m a writer, I have this blog and I also write  poetry.  Some discipline in this writing endeavor would help, yes? Yes.  In the past, my modus operandi has been to wait for Holy Spirit inspiration to strike and write ‘when I had time.’

This year things would be different.

Every Wednesday afternoon, I’d head to the Library and write for 2-3 hours. Organize writing, begin original pieces, edit things for the blog, whatever, just work on my craft.

Three Wednesdays into my Grand Intention, I drove through the pouring rain, heading to the downtown library. As I parked my car and turned off the engine, I noticed out the front windshield there was a tall woman, clad in day-glo orange waders walking up to a van across from me.

I scuttled through the downpour, umbrella aloft, book bag over my arm and glanced her way. “Seattle Public Utilities” was printed on the side of the van and the sliding door was wide open.  Tools and equipment were hung on racks lining the vehicle and on the floor was a conga drum. Laying on its side. A conga drum.

Well, that’s something you don’t see every day.

The woman was off loading some items, standing a bit to the side of the door.

“Uh, hi,” I said. “So….tell me why there’s a conga drum in your van.”

“Oh, we found it in the River.” (A tributary of the Cedar River flows under our city’s library here in South King County).

 “You found it in the river? Seriously?”

conga drum

“Yeah, we were surveying and doing some site work for the Public Utilities and dredged it up.”

I couldn’t hide my interest in the instrument.  “Wow, what’re you going to do with it?”

“We were just gonna take it to the Goodwill, but you can have it if you want it. I could put it in the back of your car.”

I was simultaneously trying to keep my cool while jumping up and down inside, telling myself to keep it together.

I would love it!” I said. “Thank you SO much!” Then she graciously hauled it into the back of my car.

And just like that, I ended up with a 3 foot high conga drum (with a built-in stand attached), drenched in river water but without a speck of damage, given to me by a stranger in the parking lot of the Library one pouring-down-rainy day.

You know those little prayer/dreams you pray/think about, the impossible, ‘this is too small to bother God with’ ones?  They’re at the back of your mind, hidden under the layers of Everything Serious that Makes Sense, rarely surfacing.

I had a dream like that. “One day I want a djembe drum.” A djembe (‘gem-bay’) is an African hand drum that sits on the floor and is played with the palm and heel of one’s hand. I learned to play one two years ago at our Women’s Retreat and found, lo and behold, I rock at percussion. I can actually sing, play an instrument and keep the beat AT THE SAME TIME. Like a real musician.

But seriously, it’s not like percussion instruments are in our household budget. So I quietly told Jesus, “I would love to have a hand drum some day,” and left it at that. Maybe it wasn’t even a real prayer, more like a, “gosh, it would be awesome if….” thought. And here was God, giving me the answer–a hand drum of my very own. I still can’t believe it.

What little dream are you holding today? 


Pssssst! if these words touched you or spoke to you in some way, would you consider clicking on one of the little ‘share’ buttons below to spread the word?
I’d be ever so grateful.

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11 thoughts on “The Day Jesus Gave Me a Conga Drum

  1. we are both getting wiser as we get older, agreed. I was falling asleep last night thinking about seasons changing in my life….slowly but surely. And God is with us through it all.
    Your encouragement is such a blessing, friend.

  2. Oh, yes, music was a very important element of worship for me for years. Now that I've gotten older, I'd say words are superseding melodies and harmonies. It's a new chapter of life, but every bit as meaningful. That's another miracle, it seems to me. Those things we hold dear and think, “Oh, when this comes to an end, it's going to be so painful.” And then we find something new takes its place that's just as wonderful–sometimes more so!

  3. Oh, Nancy I like your story, too! I'm so sorry we didn't get to sing together (well we did. A little) last year at Abide. It sounds like you and have the same loves–song and words.

  4. Your delightful story (told SO well!) is a poignant reminder of how loving, gracious, and thoughtful God is. With Natalie, I celebrate the dream he wove into your heart–and the miraculous circumstances he engineered to fulfill that dream. Your story reminded me of a little miracle God engineered for me about ten years ago. Steve and I attended a wedding where a small ensemble sang a cappella. The moving harmonies were divine. I thought, “Wouldn't it be fun to sing in such a group. Well, you've already guessed what happened: That fall, the choir director of our church asked if I'd like to sing in a small a cappella group–five voices, close harmonies. Such fun! P.S. I'm very impressed you can play percussion and sing at the same time!!

  5. oh, I like that, “the dreams he wove into our hearts.” Amen! Thanks for coming by.

  6. I love the stories that remind us that he cares about these things that seem little, about the dreams he wove into our hearts.

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