From Texas to Ishpeming to Minneapolis in a week
What a sad and serious yet joyous seven days it has been since my last post. One week ago I joined with 200 other participants on the campus of Texas Lutheran University for The Disciple Project, a in-depth training session for young Lutheran leaders. My job was to play songs and help facilitate a music class for instrumentalists, vocalists, and band leaders. Above is a clip of our performance this past Wednesday (ahh...the wonders of YouTube...an audience member posted a video already!) of my song "Texas Kyrie." Seemed fitting to play this song that I wrote in Austin, TX, back in 1999...it had returned to its home state. The folks in the music class were quite talented and they all had a blast rocking out on the Em|Em|Am|C progression. I was happy to sing and play tambourine!
Another highlight of the week was a Tuesday night show at Jackson Auditorium with techno-folk duo Tangled Blue, and organic alterna-emo songwriter Aaron Strumpel. After we all played our own sets we closed with a all-star super-jam, everyone playing and singing together. I kicked off the encore with a cover of the Stones' "Gimme Shelter," Tangled Blue played Cyndi Lauper's masterpiece "Time After Time" (and I got to sing the Rob Hyman harmony vocal!), and everybody wrapped it up with a massive version of Aaron's lovely song "Centuries."
The sad news of the week was the sudden and unexpected death of my uncle, Rev. Lance Roberts. I got the phone call and was able to make plans to return home, thanks to good customer service by Northwest Airlines. Flew back home on Wednesday afternoon, hit the road with the family on Thursday, and arrived in my hometown of Ishpeming for the Friday funeral and visitation. Our entire family was shocked and grieved by Lance's untimely death, but the funeral and surrounding family events were a powerful celebration of his life and and faith. On Saturday our family gathered deep in the woods on Lance's property where we scattered his ashes and planted dozens of trees in his memory. 'Twas one of the most profound funeral moments I'd ever witnessed. Then the family enjoyed a day at my Grandpa's cabin, where I took my son Paavo on his first-ever boat ride. Lance certainly would've approved!
So after a whirlwind road trip to Michigan's Upper Peninsula, we're home in Minneapolis, and it's July 1st. If you were my iPod sitting on my desk, this is the Jonathan you would see, blogging in the glow of the laptop. Our family members are dealing with some even more recent health concerns, and of course still in sorrow and disbelief over the loss of Uncle Lance, but more and more positive news keeps rolling in from the home front. Please keep the Roberts family in your prayers, if you do such a thing. Dawn, Paavo, and baby Svea are doing well, and I'm ready for a week of reunions with old friends, the reconstruction of a piano bench (you have to sit on something to play piano), and the reunion of The Police, who I shall be hearing/seeing two nights from now. Like Sting said, "Love can mend your life, and love can break your heart." Well, there's been heartbreak this week for sure, but God be with us and help us with the mending of our lives. And thanks for the obvious and powerful love.