I will never get over the power of a song. A song cannot shelter us, clothe us, or provide the nutrition our bodies need, and yet it seems many times songs sustain us in ways these more tangible elements simple cannot. A song can still our hearts or compel us to dance. A song announces the arrival of the bride, the president, or our favorite sports team. And a song can take us back in time, calm a crying baby, and lead us into the very presence of God.
Recently I was leaving a local retirement community where I volunteer. My service there ranges from leading hymn sings for the residents, to one on one visits with residents and their families. On this particular day as I was preparing to leave the facility an elderly gentleman asked if I was going to sing. I explained to him that I was visiting with a few individuals but had to leave to get to a family event that evening. He then asked, “Don’t you have time for just one song?” Though I needed to go, I couldn’t resist his appeal and I would soon see I had made the right decision.
Just a few words into “In the Garden” he dropped his head and began sobbing – The power of a song! He then asked what kind of guitar I played and then told me he used to play and sing in a gospel band. I asked if he wanted to strum a song for me before I left. He kindly declined, but when I handed him the guitar he did not hesitate to take it from me and begin strumming and singing through a verse and chorus of one of his favorites. His two children were there visiting and when I looked up I noticed both of them recording their dad with one hand and wiping tears with the other – the power of a song!
One song turned into four or five before I could wait no longer. The family thanked me several times as I packed up my guitar. I left the facility thinking I would make it a point to visit him the next time I was in, but I learned that just a few days after our visit he had been moved to hospice – another reminder taking that time was the right thing to do.
When I first was encouraged to share my music I resisted – for years I resisted. There were many reasons for this, one of which was that it seemed so “fluffy,” so “superficial.” Even once I finally gave in I believed it was only for a season until I could do what I really wanted. Now all these years later I am still writing and sharing music and – if I’m honest – I still struggle with wondering if what I’m doing really matters. I am thankful though for those moments when God pulls back the curtain and lets me get a glimpse of the value of my work and I am thankful – for the power of a song.