Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Music in the Air

I've always loved music. I've been singing for as long as I can remember. (Taking time out for meals, of course!) I remember being a small boy, perhaps five or six, singing The Lord's Prayer at the church my Grandpa pastored in southern Indiana. I'm sure it couldn't have been too wonderful. Simon, Randy and Paula would have told me it was "a little pitchy" but Grandpa loved it. After I returned to my pew he stood behind the pulpit and told the congregation, "There's no use having grandkids if you can't show 'em off!"

I miss that man.

I've tried instrumental music also. I took piano lessons for two years as a boy and can still play the introduction to White Christmas. Don't ask me to play much else though. As a sixth grader I learned to play the trombone. Jazz band, marching band and the assorted chuch orchestra are all on my resume, but I haven't played more than a scale for twenty years. I just can't be cool as a wandering trombonist. The best I can muster is being a tolerable part of a symphony orchestra.

I almost took up the saxophone, but they were mighty expensive. That would have been a wee bit cooler, but it's not much of a solo instrument unless you're watching some old film noir flick.

But my oldest boy has done me one better. He's a guitarist. I can say that now. Six months ago he was just "taking guitar lessons" but he's getting pretty good. And I enjoy hearing the strumming and plucking through the house. It just sounds "right". He's not ready for an Eric Clapton sound-alike contest or anything, but he's able to sit and make up his own rhythms and explore a whole range of chords. To be honest, I'm jealous.

Most of the time, I don't "get" art, but music is a different story. I'd love to be able to lose myself in a typical chord progression and just worship. To sing along with a steady strumming. To control the tempo and the key. To praise Him musically as I feel like it. That would be wonderful. I'd love to sing by myself in harmony too, but I'm not holding my breath on that happening either.

Music touches a place in the soul where we're inhibited to go otherwise. There's a lot of power in the song. Don't believe me? I'd be willing to bet that you could repeat the lyrics to more songs than you could recite poems or pieces of prose. Music is usually more memorable because it involves more than just the brain. Granted there are many people who never quite get the words right, but the music is still anchored in the memory. Is it any wonder that the largest book of the Bible is a collection of song lyrics?

So as the strains of the six-string serenade me, I head off to my office to plan out another day. It's a great gift -- music. Whether you play or sing or just hum off-key and enjoy, God provided this access to our soul. And for now, I'll have to be satisfied to listen or occasionally sing along. You don't want to be around if I pull out the ol' trombone.

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