With Thunder and Trumpets. Control Freaks' Senility, Part 10

Our friends: trumpeters and tuba players

Have you ever faced a completely sleepless night? You know what I mean: You lie in bed, but no matter how hard you try to fall asleep, sleep refuses to come? Of course it never helps when your neighbours are sharing their music with the neighbourhood, or the dog next door decides to howl at the moon...

Or does it???

July 10, 2008, was the 35th Bahamian Independence Day, and the Bahamians spent days and weeks preparing for the festivities. It cannot be said that Bahamians are not proud of their country! In fact, they put the North American attempts at independence celebration to shame. I mean, we tend to buy flags and hang them in our windows or from the backs of our cars, there are usually a few fire works, and we enjoy our day off from work. The Bahamians, however, fill the days leading up to the celebrations with national events such as Bahamian Pride Day, public concerts, and Bahamian booths and markets, while strains of the Bahamian national anthem can be heard everywhere. Where there are no official concerts, local musicians practice up and down the streets. Everyone wears the Bahamian flag on their shirts and dresses, and the entire town is ablaze with the unique turquoise, yellow and black colours of the Bahamian flag.

We were fortunate enough to be in the Bahamas during this time, and we happened upon what seemed to us to be a ceremony one evening, about 5 days before Independence Day. We would soon learn that it wasn't the actual ceremony, but simply practice for the parade and festivities to be held on the day itself. Other than the fact that the crowds of onlookers just filled the stadium, instead of overflowing it, you wouldn't have been able to tell it wasn't the real ceremony! The parade would involve all branches of the police, all branches of the national defence, including new recruits, the firefighters, and even the prime minister himself! Apparently they had been practicing for at least two hours every day for the event!

Everywhere we looked, construction was taking place for the festivities. Fences were being put up, fields were being cleared, and there was even an enormous castle front that was being constructed on the parade grounds.

We were amazed and impressed at the national pride we saw all around us. Unfortunately, however, we were scheduled to fly back to Florida on the July 10, and we were a bit sad that we would miss out on the festivities.

What we didn't realize was that we wouldn't miss out at all! In fact, we were destined to leave this beautiful country with a literal bang!

With our flight leaving Nassau at 7:30 a.m., we had arranged for our taxi to pick us up at 5:15. Knowing it would be an early morning and a long, tiring day, we all turned in early. And it's a good thing we did, because our dreams were soon ripped apart by what could have easily been a war zone between good and evil. All four of us jumped up from our beds, sweat droplets spiralling down our bodies. We looked at each other, confused. Had we all dreamed the same thing? How could that be?

Then what sounded like a cannon shell exploded with strings of blue, yellow, green and red light streaking through the sky.

Those weren't artillery shells! They were fireworks!

By the time we had our wits about us enough to check the clock, it read 12:40 a.m!!! We'd been asleep for less than three short hours!

We went back to bed. Our sleep had been interrupted, but no worries. We'd still be able to get a good night's sleep.

But it was not to be. We wanted to sleep, and we had given no one our permission to prevent us from reaching our goal, but the noise did not stop. Oh, the booming of the fireworks did finally cease, but only to be replaced by another sound: The police were coming, sirens blaring, lights flashing! And it wasn't just one police car or two, but at least six of them!

Once again we stood up and glared through our window, wondering where the criminals could possibly be hiding. But the police weren't after criminals. They were all part of a long, noisy parade... One that would pass directly in front of our hotel!

Oh no!

Back to bed! "Concentrate, concentrate, concentrate! Imagine that there is no noise around you! I said no noise around you! Bah, that sure doesn't work!"

Eventually we did fall back to a listless sleep, only to be woken up again. The clock read 2:30, and this time it was trumpeters and tuba players practicing at maximum decibels. But why did they need to practise just outside our hotel door?

We quickly checked it out, but there was no one in the hallway. We followed the sound to the back of the hotel only to discover over twenty musicians playing in the street below.

Back to bed! And with much mumbling and grumbling, we tried to close our eyes once again.

We had barely tuned out the noise when the hotel's fire alarm rang! We quickly grabbed our clothes, wondering if this was real or not. It wasn't!

"Hey mon," cried the locals, "we need to celebrate!"

No one celebrated my 50th birthday like that!

We were heading back to bed, feeling out of control and less than sociable, when our troupe of trumpeters began to play: "It is well with my soul."

We looked at one another, wide-eyed, and without a word we all conceded that we had let local events perturb our inner peace. Wasn't this a time to celebrate? The locals were right! We don't celebrate enough, especially what God has done for us!

Now it was our time to make loud thunder! We began to sing with our trumpeter friends: "It is well, it is well, with my soul!" And we were happy and at peace from that moment on!

The alarm clock finally put an end to our miserable attempts at sleep at 4:30 a.m. We didn't bother trying to be quiet while we dressed and got our luggage together, although I did make one feeble attempt to control the noise coming from inside our room: "Shh!" I said. "We'll wake up the neighbors!" But I was only met with loud laughter: "You think there's anyone sleeping in this hotel?"

Funny thing, we weren't even tired all day! There must be something to it when you submit yourself completely to the Lord and praise His name on the top of your lungs! Yielding to God leads to power!

It is sad though that we tend to make more raucous for sports and politics than for the Lord Himself! Shouldn't we be celebrating what He has done for us daily? Let's make a raucous for the Lord! And let's be sure to let others know why we are celebrating!

"Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him!" (Phil 4:4 The Message)

What will you do when loud noises wake you up in the middle of the night?

Let's celebrate!

Rob Chaffart

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