The Healing Power of Music
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How you ever been moved to tears by a piece of music?
Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, that hypnotic quietude dripping slowly into the ear and melting the heart.
Deep meaning, righteous rage, defiance in the face of suffering all manifest as Holly Near sings “We Are a Gentle, Angry People.”
New images of a God longing to be freed from old male metaphors that no longer hold her in the Hymn “Bring Many Names.”
The pathos of Van Morrisson the silent sufferer as he confesses “I’m Not Feeling It Anymore.”
The pride of an oppressed people rising in revolutionary fervor as Sibelius’ “Finlandia” would be played by outlaws for their fellow patriots.
Rent’s “Seasons of Love”, Fiddler’s “Sunrise, Sunset”, Evita’s “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina”, and Camelot’s “I Loved You Once in Silence.”
Jackson Browne bearing his humiliation and regret as he sings “Don’t confront me with my failures, I had not forgotten them.”
Christmas Eve, soprano voice, dim lit sanctuary, and “O, Holy Night.”
Gladys Knight holding strong with either “The Best Things that Ever Happened to Me” or the classic, incomparable tale of commitment and love in “Midnight Train to Georgia.”
Roberta Flack’s mellifluous voice pouring lust and longing over piano chords as she sings “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.”
The first time I saw my child march, his trumpet proudly held aloft, a moment made by hours, days, months, and years of preparation.
Dancing with my daughter at her wedding as Paul Simon sings “never has a father loved a daughter much as I Iove you.”
That moment Mimi walked down the aisle in the wedding gown she made with her own hands as Bach serenaded her.
Earphones on, long walk in the woods, cool breeze on the cheek, blood warms and the body sweats, and then comes Nancy Griffith telling the story of her childhood friend and that opening line: “There’s a light beyond these woods, Mary Margaret.”
An outdoor amphitheater, heart pounding in anticipation of a bucket-list moment, the orchestra having tuned itself, the conductor having silenced the audience, and nary a breath disturbing the silence until those four familiar and yet mesmerizing notes strike the opening of Beethoven’s 5th. Dah Dah Dah Dah!! Indeed.
I remember the first time I cried listening to a piece of music. I put an old .45 on the turn table and heard Peter, Paul, and Mary sing Puff the Magic Dragon. What was I? Seven? Eight. I would do it again in the back seat of the car as Terry Jacks sang “Seasons in the Sun”, Gilbert O’Sullivan sang “Alone Again, Naturally”, or the Left Banke sang “Just Walk away Renee.”
I find healing in those tears. Pain is a part of our living, and tears a part of our healing. For every artist whose voice or whose lyrics or whose melodies stir our hearts and heal our wounds I give thanks on this, our journey Into the Mystic.