Psalm 69:29-31 I am in pain and distress; may your salvation, O God, protect me. I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.
Many moments of my life, when I recall them in memory, are accompanied by music. It's like a sort of soundtrack to SingingOwl's Life Story. For example, when I think of my sisters as they were in my childhood, I see them in the poodle skirts so popular in the 50s, hear the swishing of their multiple crinoline petticoats, and then I see them in the living room of our old house, trying to learn to do "the bop" adequately so that when they sneaked out to the high school dance (we were Southern Baptists and dancing was a sin, doncha' know?) they would not disgrace themselves. I never hear the song "Tequila" without a smile, picturing the two of them. Once the late Richie Valens (think La Bamba) asked my sister to dance.
As a very nearsighted, confused and often frightened child, I would curl up on our scratchy couch while I listened to some classical recording. Moonlight Sonata and Claire de Lune are two I recall. In my imagination I was flying away on the back of a big bird, soaring above the city, the houses, the noise, the uncertainty, to bask in sunlight and reach out to the clouds.
I remember the first time I heard The 1812 Overture. I was in 7th grade and our teacher decided to try a few music appreciation sessions. I was enthralled and went right home and begged my dad to take me to something called The Cal Store to buy the album. I still have that scratchy record.
My childhood church memories are usually accompanied by a mental soundtrack which includes, songs like Leaning On the Everlasting Arms, When We All Get to Heaven, and Take the Name of Jesus With You. School memories are accompanied by late 50s early or 60s songs like "Yakity Yak" or "Que Sera Sera" or "Leader of the Pack." High school memories are accompanied by the Beach Boys, the Beatles, Steppenwolf, Cream or Iron Butterfly. Rhapsody in Blue or songs from Porgy and Bess play in certain memories of my sister, Darlaine. Or sometimes it's Mahalia Jackson. And on it goes. Church memories from the 70s have a background recording of gospel songs like, He Touched Me or I'll Fly Away or I Saw the Light. (We were in the south at the time.) Later it was He is Lord. These days it might be Blessed Be the Name.
What does this have to do with God's goodness? A great deal. I am recalling the comfort, the fun, the energy, and the spiritual solace or joy that have come to me over the years through God's gift of music. Sometimes a song comes easily. Other times it is a choice to sing through sadness.
What a blessing this gift is, and how different, and more difficult, life would be without a song!