Daddy’s Banjo

There’s something to buying brand new instruments, the look, the feel, the smell of them.  But there’s also something to inheriting instruments.  They might not always be the greatest quality and they might not always sound as good as your other instruments, but there’s something nostalgic about playing an instrument owned by someone you love, almost as if you can somehow connect with them through time.2013-05-26 11.54.17

My dad was a pastor for many years and spent the majority of his time pastoring the church and caring for all of the people within it.  He didn’t have a whole lot of hobbies.  In fact, one of the fears that I had when he neared retirement was that there was nothing for him to look forward to, all of the things that he had done were taken away from him and there was nothing left in which to invest other than what may have seemed secondary to him.

Years before his retirement, before it was even in sight, my mom, my brother, and I decided to buy Dad a banjo.  He loved to sing and had once played guitar and clarinet, but he had expressed an interest in playing the banjo years earlier.  I had remembered that wish and decided to see if we could introduce him to a new hobby.  We bought him the banjo, friends from church got him some lessons, and he was on his way.

He had a few lessons, but I never heard him play.  I guess in my mind, I secretly wished that we could “jam” together, him on banjo and me on guitar.  Sadly, that never happened.

When he started getting sicker, I decided to take most of the valuable things out of his house and keep them with me.  Among those things was the banjo that we had bought him.  It saddened me that he had really never had the chance to play it, but I figured that I might get some use out of it.

I picked it up here and there, but never really gave it the time that I needed to give it…..until last week.  We had an opportunity as a church to do an evening of music at a local coffeehouse.  It’s such a cool place where we have been having staff meeting and it reminds me of Asheville, a place that my wife and I grew to love in our brief time there.  Very earthy and organic feel.

With the success of Mumford and Sons, many bands have tried to emulate their sound and there was a song that I had grown fond of that just seemed like it was screaming for a banjo.  I decided to introduce it among some of the other songs that we would play that night, and I decided to play Dad’s banjo on it.

I dusted the banjo off, did some minor work to it, and figured out how to play what I needed to play.  Off I went.  It seemed appropriate that the first song played by that banjo in public would be called “Build Your Kingdom Here.”  That was my dad’s heart, to see the Kingdom of God built, and he gave his life for that, fully devoted and committed to the furtherance of God’s Kingdom.  Here are the words for the song, and below is a recording of us doing the song.

So grateful for my dad and all that I learned from him.  Sad that he wasn’t able to enjoy the banjo, but glad that I was able to honor him and the God he served his entire life with this song.

One thought on “Daddy’s Banjo

  1. Well…they both start with ASH 🙂

    It’s such a cool place where we have been having staff meeting and it reminds me of Asheville, a place that my wife and I grew to love in our brief time there. Very earthy and organic feel.

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