Handbells

Call me a dork, but I love playing handbells. I played for about 7 years through middle and high school until I went to college, after which point I had no outlet for swinging the brass. Fast-forward to 3 1/2 years ago when I found out my church (different from where I grew up) has a handbell choir.

I’ve been so thrilled to play again every year since then and I get embarrassingly excited to put on white gloves and play. But, I can’t deny who I am. I just love it that much. As it turns out, we’ll be playing again in all the church services this coming weekend (April 9 and 10) at Cuyahoga Valley Church. Even more exciting for me is that I get to play a solo, which is so much fun to do.

Of course, I can’t help but think of how proud Stephanie always was of me and how excited she got to watch me play. And I know how crushed she was for me last year when I completely screwed up my solo. The last time I played, unfortunately, started a week of utter badness. I mentioned the failed solo, but it was also that week that Stephanie had her first seizure, which terrified me more than I can tell you. That’s not all that happened, but it is all that’s relevant. I certainly hope to not repeat a week like that. Anyway, keeping in mind the joy she had for my ringing, my solo is very much in honor of her, and the song (which I’m not divulging) is very fitting.

I’ve done my best not to shy away from doing those things which are meaningful to her or to me or to us, despite her not being here any more. I’m still the person I was, and still love the things that I love. There’s no benefit in denying who I am simply because Stephanie died. I feel like I’m working my way through all of those things as this year continues on. It’s very therapeutic and freeing.

I’m so thankful to the bell choir for postponing our “season” until this spring, since the fall was obviously not going to work. I’m so thankful to the church for even having handbells and for our director, Jo, for leading us. Anyone who knows me, knows I can’t sing, so I thank God for the chance to worship Him through music in such a way.

In short: I can’t wait!

31 thoughts on “Handbells”

  1. Brad, I am so jealous right now. I really like playing the handbells too, but I could not play this season. I miss it because it was the only fun thing I did during the week. Can’t wait to see the group play this weekend!! As always, I’m sure it’ll be great (your solo’s are awesome). :D

  2. Brad-cannot wait to see you on the stage with all the others. I love to sing, so I know how you feel.
    This will be something to look forward too on Sunday–in addition to the service.

  3. Brad, How fun for you. I have been to a service where kids have played the handbells. I’m glad that you are still able to enjoy the things that were and are important to you and to you and Stephanie. God Bless you as you continue to heal.

  4. And that is how we met, and how I got to meet your sweet Stephanie and little guys!! : ) I was always impressed by the menfolk with the large bells at that end of the table! Hahahaha!! Wish I could be there to hear you guys play at CVC!!!

  5. Brad, you are a handbell rock star! The last time I saw you play I think you were rocking 3 sets of bells? I'm excited that you're playing this weekend because we will be there! Can't wait to hear the solo. I do remember Stephanie being SO proud of your playing the bells. No doubt those chimes on Sunday will make their way to Heaven.

  6. And that is how we met, and how I got to meet your sweet Stephanie and little guys!! : ) I was always impressed by the menfolk with the large bells at that end of the table! Hahahaha!! Wish I could be there to hear you guys play at CVC!!!

  7. Brad, you are a handbell rock star! The last time I saw you play I think you were rocking 3 sets of bells? I'm excited that you're playing this weekend because we will be there! Can't wait to hear the solo. I do remember Stephanie being SO proud of your playing the bells. No doubt those chimes on Sunday will make their way to Heaven.

  8. Brad…first of all, you are not a dork! Being musically inclined is a gift from God. Yours is a unique gift…I have never seen someone ring so many bells at one time as I did when you solo’d. I don’t care if someone played the kazoo…a solo is one of the most admirable and difficult musical feats anyone can do. And being musically gifted (although a long time ago!) myself, I remember no mistakes in your solo :) Completely looking forward to hearing the bells!!! I love and respect that the things that meant so such to you and your wife are “therapeutic and freeing…”. Makes my heart glad for you.

  9. So happy to hear!!!! Very excited to see you tomorrow :) And I think it’s so amazing how you still love the things you do and are not losing yourself during this time. *hugs*

  10. Your solo was so touching. The song was a beautiful choice. I’m positive that Stephanie is looking down on you and is so proud of you.

  11. Brad, I will remember you playing the bells with that beautiful picture of your family behind you for as long as I live. It was an overpowering testimony to God’s faithfulness. Thank you.

  12. Hi Brad, I thought your Christmas solo (2009) was good. I know during rehearsal maybe – just maybe – you made one mistake or two. Yesterday was amazing with bells and how everything was layered upon them: drums, piano, vocals, guitars, and the worship. I love bells, too and Jo is an amazing director. Since I landed a part time job back in September I wasn’t able to make practices this time, but every Thursday I thought about you guys. I agree that Stephanie would be happy for you, playing bells, and loving simple things as before. Great job on your bell solo yesterday!

  13. Mrs. Thompson would be so blessed!!! Wish she could have heard you!
    Brad, you are doing so many good things that are so near to the heart of God.

  14. Brad

    What an incredible blessing, both the music & the testimony! We attended the Saturday evening service and returned to work in the nursery Sunday morning. When a mother came back to pick up her child at the end of service – she had tears in her eyes. I knew it was your music ministry and testimony that brought on the emotions. I asked and she confirmed it. May those who are who heard and are going through a rough time be encouraged by your incredible story. May your healing continue and may God meet every need of yours, and your sweet children. May God bless you richly!

  15. Dear Brad,
    I have heard about your gift of music and testimony at your church over the weekend, and all I can say is glory to God….only He can give you the strength to find the ability to share like that and also the desire………..may God continue to hold you and your precious children so very close to His heart…….I know He is! love, sue hickey

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