Sunday, September 23, 2012

September 23, 2012: I guess I'm ready...


Sorry for no post last week.  I was traveling to Phoenix for rehearsal for our upcoming reunion / benefit concert, and I was just too tired Sunday night.  Things are going great with the concert.  My band is getting along great, and everyone has done a great job of putting aside their differences to make this show work.  I'm really grateful for the patience and presence each guy (there are SIX of us) is exhibiting.  Putting together a reunion show is dicey... sounds great in concept, but then you all spend 8 hours in a practice room together, and you very quickly remember all the reasons why you don't speak to each other anymore!  LOL.  There has been a lot of "past" to wade through to get everyone firing on the same cylinder.  I told everyone, "Please leave all that baggage at the practice room door.  You are free to pick it up when you leave, but please don't bring it into the [rehearsal] space."  Sure enough, everyone not only did this, but after practice, we all went out as a band... and promptly closed not one but two bars that night! LOL.  That was really great to see - all the guys hitting on all cylinders in the practice room and out!  A band is a delicate mix... I always explain it like this.  There are three major hurdles you have to overcome just to put a band together...

1.  You have to like what the other guy or gal does musically
2.  You have to like them when their not playing their instrument as well since you have to spend the other 23 hours a day off stage with them on the road.
3.  Even if both of these are the case, you have to both be unconnected to any existing projects at the same time.
4. Only then, can you even begin the real work of creating art together.

It's why being a solo artist can seem so appealing!

Anyhow, that's why I missed Sunday's post.  But lemme tell you about Tuesday... which is the meat of the post...

but before I do even that, I have to tell you about another absolute angel I ran into at our Time to Fly Run in June.  Well, there were several, but right now, I want you to know about Tona Crooker.  Ang and I did the best we could for Bella because, well, we gave birth to her, but Tona is voluntarily adopting a child with EB from an orphanage in Eastern Europe.  Like the Delgados, Tona has been called to rescue a child from a similar situation and she is listening to that calling.  That just fills my heart with the deepest amount of hope for our world.  It shows me the potential for human being.  People have said very kind things about how Ang and I have dealt with everything we went through, but we are in it, and as such, simply can't 'see it,' the way anyone else can.  However, I can look out and 'see' Tona.  I had the good fortune of meeting her at the race, and I remember this quiet power/confidence/self assuredness that was present, but also, grounded...  a lot like Ang!  Anyhow, earlier this week, she reached out to me and asked if I would share about their journey with all of you, and I immediately replied it would be an honor and pleasure.  Please CLICK HERE to go to her campaign page.  It is so totally inspiring.


Here it goes.

I'll just start writing the events as they happened.

On Tuesday, I was at the hospital doing my thing.  I was feeling a little lonely at lunch, so out of the blue, I decided to drop by the Chaplain office to see if anyone still needed/wanted to grab lunch.  Mind you, I had already passed their office, but felt called to double back.  It had been like a year since I had dropped into their office, and it was a good 30 minutes later than I might have dropped in for lunch in the past, but I figured, why not?

Well, it was a party!  Everyone was there, and as soon as I walked in, one of the Chaplains said, "OH good, Tim.  I need your help.  Can you play a memorial today?"

"Is it here on campus?" I asked.

"Yes, at 2."  She replied.  It was 1:10pm.

"Sure, do I have time to get lunch?" I responded.  I wasn't going anywhere other than the cafeteria next!

"Yes, I'll text you when we are getting ready.  You should know, the patient is 2.  He was hit by a car.  The parents were having a BBQ in the back yard and had been drinking.  Somehow, the child got out and wandered into the street.  He is still on life support, but he was declared brain dead this morning.  We are going to do the memorial, and then they are going to take him off life support."





And off to lunch I went.

What happened during that pause was this... I thought about how God works.  I still trust Him completely.  I may still be a little pissed at Him, and frustrated because I don't know "how to pray" anymore, but I love Him, I know He loves me, and I trust how He works.  He didn't have me "drop in" to the Chaplain's office only to throw me under the bus.  It was His way of letting me know I was ready if I was willing to trust Him again.

So... after lunch, I got 'the text,' and headed up to the room.  I walked into the unit, and quickly realized something... although we are an adult hospital, we have a Level III Trauma Unit for pediatrics.  Last year, I treated a 5 year old who suffered a traumatic brain injury after also being hit by a car.  (Incidentally, that little boy got on the school bus this fall all by himself and has made a miraculous recovery).  I had forgotten about him until I was back on this unit, since I hadn't been back since.  Anyway, as I walked in, the Chaplain says, "Can you play Jesus Loves the Little Children?  Then, maybe 'Yes Jesus Loves Me?"  To which I answer, "No I can't, but give me 5 minutes with my iPad and the answer will be YES."  This is where I give thanks and praise again to my iPad.  I was able to pull up chords and lyrics to both songs within 2 minutes, and I had the Chaplain sing Jesus Love the Little Children as I played the chords, and BOOM, we had it.

As the family started entering the room, I looked through the sliding glass doors, and had a brief freak out moment.  The air blanket Bella had over her to keep her warm?  Present.  A cute quilt to hold it down?  Check.  Stickers and drawings on the walls?  Yup.  Little child with a blanket draped around the top of his head, with a breathing tube coming out of his mouth?  Check.

Holy ____ it was almost an IDENTICAL scene.

That's when I literally looked up at God through the ceiling panels and pointed my finger at Him and said, "Now, I am NOT going to freak out, because I trust You, but I got my eye on you!"  I mean, really?  all the way down to the quilt over the air blanket??? I did NOT see THAT coming.

I walked in, set up my iPad, and we began.  I sang with joy, reverence, peace, and calm... all things that result from my Faith.  Most importantly, I could just 'be' with the child and his family.  I'd been there myself.  God gave me all my experiences, and gave me the opportunity to put those experiences in a bank, where they could be drawn on in the future for the betterment of others, and here I was, just under two years later, drawing on my account.  After the conclusion of the service, I didn't want silence for the family, so I played, "His Love Is Everlasting."  Then, it was time for me to leave.  I went to the mom, put my hand on her shoulder, and whispered, "There are no words.  I just want to give you some love," and I just held her shoulder for a few mindful seconds.  Then, I walked around the bed, and stopped at the foot of the bed and beheld the child.  I did not want to hide from him.  I wanted to be with him, fully, so I squared my body to his without anything between us, and I held him in my smile.  I thought about Bella walking him to heaven, saying, "That was my daddy playing for you.  He's good like that."

Last, I sidled up to the dad.  I said the same thing to him as mom, but instead of just a hand, I reached my arm around his back and gripped his upper arm and gave him a one handed side bear hug.  This latino man was in a room of grieving women, and while trying to be strong, he was struggling.

I remember two particular hugs from Minnesota.

They were from other men.

They gave me the strength I needed; the strength that I was providing my family.

I thought of those two men in that moment, and was so filled with gratitude to 'pass it on.'

Then, I walked out of the room, beaming.  Drained, but beaming.

The Chaplains were concerned about whether I was okay, to which I told them exactly what I said to God earlier about trusting Him to not throw me under the bus.  He didn't have me 'drop in' for any other reason than to give me the occasion to witness my own growth and healing.  It's like He was saying, "How fast will you ever know yourself to be if you don't ever bust into a full sprint?  How strong will you ever know yourself to be if you don't push past what you thought was possible?"  Does that make sense?  I hope it does, because it is so important.  You have to trust something or someone to ever really 'go for it,' whether it be yourself, God, your spouse, whatever.  In order to truly go for it, you have to let go and let it rip.  You have to be a little bit 'out of control,' otherwise, you never reach new ground.  I'm speaking in some vague metaphor language here and I hope it's not coming off preachy; it's just that I don't think I woke up on Tuesday morning and said to myself, "Hmm... I think I'm ready to play a memorial for a child pretty much in Bella's exact situation."  It just didn't go that way, but now that it was offered to me, I took it.  I took it, again, because I had Faith.  Faith that inside this (or any) situation was the seeds of growth and blessings.  Faith that God lays those blessings out before me for me to find, like an Easter egg hunt.  Sometimes those blessings are easy to find, sometimes it takes a little more work to uncover... but they are always there!

That's my story.

God night.


  1. What an important gig! I'm glad you were there for that family!
    X x

  2. Amazing as always, Mr. Ringgold.
    And I will always be thankful for your help with my miracle who got on that school bus this year...

  3. Tim, thanks for sharing this powerful post. I am so impressed with how you handle what you face. I have never had to face anything like you have and now see how easily I can allow myself to get pushed down by the fear. How you articulated this day is truly a large lesson for us all and it translates into many situations that we can each apply it to. You rock! xoxo~ Tracey

  4. Always love your posts....God is using you in so many ways...Good for you to trust Him, not always an easy job.

  5. Hi Tim: All I can say is Wow. What a story. God sure does work in many wonderful ways, doesn't he. Glad you could be there for the family at such a heartbreaking time.
    Glad you and your sweet family are doing good. You guys are always in my thoughts and prayers. Love and Peace Leah, Tabby and Rachel's Nana

  6. All so true Tim. Best to you, Angelique and the little ones. xo Terri

  7. Powerful post Mr. Ringgold!! Thank you for sharing!! Faith is knowing that whatever you are going through it is for a reason...the good and the bad!
    I saw a quote the other day that reminds me of this post:
    "We have no right to ask when a sorrow comes, 'Why did this happen to me?' unless we ask the same question for every joy that comes our way." -Unknown
    It is not for us to understand "why" today. We will understand one day and then it will ALL make sense...but for now faith will sustain our journey!
    Much love from MO

  8. Tim,
    you are so inspiring! thank you! God bless you all!!!

  9. beautiful.
    Thanks for sharing.

  10. Tim, Ang, Ali, Bella, Julian,

    I send you all love on this day. That girl with the fab socks is never forgotten. My rooftop is sun-filled and happy with thoughts of the wonderful Ringgold family. You are strong, fearless and unforgotten.
    Perhaps one day I shall be able to say this to you all as a family.

    Bella carries on strong and true, making her mark.



  11. What a beautiful story! There are no coincidences in life, only chances to do something good, or something great! Thanks you for baring your soul & inspiring so many of us to do better NOW!