My husband has quite a collection of guitars – he even has names for some of them and they may soon need a room of their own! But I’m not complaining. I am full of admiration for how he taught himself to play and some of my most precious memories are of singing along to a tune he has learned and perfected. I wish I had his talent and dedication.
Sometimes, in the evening, after a long hard day at work, guitar melodies quietly tumble down the stairs from his study, like a refreshing mountain stream. He doesn’t always realise that I turn off the TV to just listen, not wanting to disturb the magic. Playing guitar is such a good stress relief for him.
Music has such power. It crystalizes memories. It connects us with others. It gives us a means of expressing and offloading complex feelings.
When my mum was in the last months of her life, I found myself playing and singing over and over again One Republic’s ‘Counting Stars’. It seemed to encapsulate the ambiguity and tangle of my feelings – my insomnia; how difficult it was to act unselfishly for so long whilst trying to balance everyone’s needs of me; how the experience had aged me; how my dreams of the future with my mum had been dashed; how this intense pain paradoxically brought my life into sharp focus and vivid colour; even the underlying hope to all this anguish. Singing it loudly made me feel better somehow.
David was Saul’s One Republic. When the king was in torment, it was David’s playing on the lyre (or harp) that restored him. Plenty of us today continue to find similar comfort in the honesty and lyricism of David’s music in the hymnbook that is the Book of Psalms.
It’s easy to remember David as a giantkiller or king. But let’s not forget and give thanks for his musical gift that lives on. Let’s also be thankful this Advent for the traditional and modern, professional and amateur music that surrounds us this season. And let’s not forget to thank the musicians today who bring us healing and wholeness. Thank you My Beloved.